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Modi's hat-trick a result of good governance

Published: 21st December 2012 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th December 2012 11:57 PM   |  A+A-

The BJP has reason to be happy that it has bucked the anti-incumbency trend and notched up a fifth successive win in the Gujarat assembly elections, the third under the stewardship of Narendra Modi. That it has won this on a development agenda and not on a communal or caste divide is an endorsement of Modi’s model of governance. The Congress which had failed to project a leader during its campaign can have notional satisfaction that it improved its tally of 59 in 2007 marginally. But the real boost for the Congress has come from Himachal where it carved out a comfortable victory. This was  despite the campaign being led by Virbhadra Singh who is being investigated for corruption. On balance then, it would be fair to say that the honours have been shared.

Modi’s substantial sway in Gujarat was essentially an urban phenomenon with the old warhorse virtually sweeping the urban constituencies where the benefits of the rapid industrialization, streamlined administration and improved law and order were felt most. Though the minorities as a whole continued to feel sore with the BJP for the handling of the 2002 riots and its failure to allocate even a single seat to the Muslims, a section of Muslims especially those who had benefited from his reforms did endorse him. In the rural constituencies, the Modi factor did not work as well since Modi’s policies did not benefit the farmer directly. The mini-revolt by Keshubhai Patel made no difference to Modi’s juggernaut.

In Himachal, the electorate followed the time-tested practice of voting out an incumbent government. The infighting in the BJP added to the disenchantment due to rampant inflation and lack of job opportunities. The sting went out of BJP’s rhetoric against corruption at the Centre when its own national president was tainted by revelations of graft. Whether the spectacular BJP win in Gujarat will catapult Modi to the Delhi stage is premature to say. But good governance must continue to be the yardstick for the electorate to judge any government.



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