Friday, November 16, 2012

Political battle in Gujarat is likely to be a mind-game

The Congress party, the main and only opposition to him, is trying to figure out how to demolish the myth woven by Modi around himself. In the last assembly election in 2007 the Bharatiya Janata Party got 117 seats and 49.12 percent of the votes while the Congress got 59 seats and 38 percent votes.
The political battle in Gujarat is likely to be a mind-game where forces within the country are turning the electoral exercise into a larger, secular versus communal debate. However, in Gujarat, the Congress seems determined to not 'fall into the trap' of the communalism-secularism debate when they are taking on Modi's 'autocratic and right-wing rule'.
As the election season comes closer, the ground situation is likely to change, increasing the pressures on Modi.
The Congress has been out of power in the state since 1995, and if it loses the battle again it will pave the way for Modi's rise like never before. will keep a tight watch as Modi, with his prime ministerial ambitions, plans his moves to counter the Congress's political assault to defeat him or restrict him to Gujarat.
Towards this, we are starting a series of interviews to warm our readers to the coming battle for Gujarat. The series will be in the form of engaging conversations with experts and opinion-makers, including writer Gunavant Shah, a staunch supporter of Modi, Arjun Modhwadia, president of the state Congress, who doesn't like to utter or hear the word 'Modi'.
We kick off the series with Achyut Yagnik, the Ahmedabad-based social activist, writer and political analyst, who has co-authored several books like: Creating a Nationality: Ramjanmabhoomi Movement and Fear of the Self, The Shaping of Modern Gujarat: Plurality, Hindutva and Beyond and Ahmedabad, a Royal City to Megacity. Yagnik speaks to Sheela Bhatt about the ground situation in Gujarat, the state's caste equations and about Modi's politics.