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'There was never a doubt, never a surprise about Gujarat outcome'

December 20, 2012 19:04 IST

'In India people want progress, development. If that is what Mr Modi has done, that is what will happen.'

'If this is not true, why would the people of Gujarat, which is such a progressive, developed society, vote for Mr Modi?' asks Devang Nanavati.

Being a spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party, it is obvious this was expected. In fact, we had said we would better last time's results and it is a resounding victory in Gujarat, once again for the BJP under the leadership of Mr (Narendra) Modi.

This was obvious once the exit polls came out. For us in the party, we knew right from the Sadbhavna movement and right from the Vivekananda Yatra that the mood of the people of Gujarat was very much in favour of Mr Modi's governance and developmental politics and the BJP government's performance over the past 18 years, especially in the last 11 years under Mr Modi. So there was never a doubt, never a surprise.

This is a unique example of pro-incumbency. That for the third time Mr Modi received such a large mandate in the elections. It is a historic win and it is rarely seen in elections, not just in India, but around the world.

It is a very, very, credible feat. Not only that, the defeat of the main leaders of the Opposition party, including the president of the Gujarat Congress, the Leader of the Opposition, the past Leader of the Opposition, two sitting Members of Parliament from the Congress who had fought the MLA elections.

This shows that the people of Gujarat were totally not with the Congress, but with the BJP. And they have put their trust and faith once again in the BJP under Mr Modi's leadership. I am sure we will live up to those expectations.

Of course, we had a strategy to tackle anti-incumbency. You are seeing the results of that. Frankly, we had a very, very, sound platform to tackle it. That platform was good governance, development, growth and the peace and tranquility that Gujarat has enjoyed over the past 10 years, the recognition of Gujarat's progress, not just in India, but around the world.

That is what we presented to the people of Gujarat. That was our answer to any anti-incumbency factor that may have been raised by others. Hence, there was no anti-incumbency. In fact, there is pro-incumbency.

The media is very well aware that Mr Narendra Modi is one of the tallest leaders of the BJP today. He has been an important political leader in the spectrum of Indian politics for the past five to seven years. I think it would be politically naive to consider an Indian political field without Mr Modi.

So the question of any future role depending on the result is not a correct assessment. He is already a national leader, he already has his own place in national politics. And if and when the party wants a larger role for him, at the national level, I am sure that Mr Modi will be very, very, ideally suited for that role.

I am very hopeful that if Mr Modi eventually happens to be in that role, he will do very well for the simple reason, that 21st century India is a young India, it is an aspirational India. It is an India that appreciates growth and development. It is also becoming more and more urbanised.

People in India, across the board, across all communities, all classes have appreciated Mr Modi's work and governance and so when it comes to voting for it on a national level, I am sure Mr Modi will get resounding success.

Look at the Gujarat election. Look at the vote share that the BJP has won. The BJP has actually increased its vote share by a couple of percentage points. Not only that, that vote share is spread across the board in rural areas, urban areas, even in areas dominated by the minorities and other communities.

It has cut across party lines, caste lines, communal lines.

Voters have risen above all that and voted for governance and development. This is what the new India wants.

Everybody wants progress and Mr Modi allowed that to happen. He didn't let politics interfere. This is another synonym for good governance and that is what India wants.

In India people want progress, development, they don't want politicians to hamper progress. If that is what Mr Modi has done, that is what will happen.

If this is not true, why would the people of Gujarat, which is such a progressive, developed society, vote for Mr Modi?

Devang Nanavati, a lawyer and the Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson in Gujarat, spoke to Vaihayasi Pande Daniel

Devang Nanavati