oppn parties Gujarat: Model to Problem State in Two Years

News Snippets

  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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Gujarat: Model to Problem State in Two Years

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Narendra Modi and Amit Shah made a big mistake in appointing Anandiben Patel as the chief minister of Gujarat when Modi moved to Delhi. Given her advanced age and the fact that she was not a mover and shaker in the Modi cabinet, she seemed to be a consensus candidate imposed to prevent in-fighting in the state unit. In doing so, the Modi-Shah team had followed the policies of the Congress party. They had thought that with Anandiben in the chair, the state could be controlled by them through remote control. But they had not reckoned with the fact that the pressures of occupying the PM’s chair (for Modi) and the party president’s chair (for Shah) would leave them with practically no time for Gujarat.

Hence, a state often held up by Narendra Modi as an example of a model developed state during the 2014 campaign and how he would transform India the way he had transformed Gujarat, was allowed to go to seed. The administration seemed to have no clue how to control the Patidar movement and did not know what hit it when dalits were thrashed by a local gang in Una and the issue snowballed into a major, and state-wide, protest movement. To be fair to Anandiben, Modi had poached on the good bureaucrats in the state by taking them with him to Delhi. Still, Anandiben showed little political acumen in handling issues and allowed them to drift. They refused to go away and continued to haunt her, ultimately forcing her to resign.

Supporters of Anandiben have alleged that her detractors in the party have destabilized her government by not helping her during the Patidar and dalit agitations. Some fingers are also being pointed at Amit Shah, whose supporters have already started petitioning the high command to make him the CM. But Modi has a far bigger role for Shah. As of now, BJP state president Vijay Rupani is emerging as the frontrunner to succeed Anandiben, with Nitin Patel as the dark horse.

But whoever succeeds her will have his hands full. Despite Modi and Shah, Gujarat is no longer in the iron grip of BJP. Local body elections in the last two years, where the Congress made deep inroads into traditional BJP territory, the Patidar agitation, the simmering discontent of dalits and no control of the administration over the gangs of cow vigilantes, coupled with increasing caste and sub-caste loyalties, have turned Gujarat into a problem state. It will be very difficult for the next CM, despite full support from Modi and Shah, to rectify the situation to BJP’s advantage, without which winning the state elections in 2017 will seem an uphill task.