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Rediff.com  » News » Gujarat diary: '110 crore Indians want Modi in PM's chair'

Gujarat diary: '110 crore Indians want Modi in PM's chair'

December 20, 2012 15:26 IST

While BJP workers gleefully celebrated the victory of the party and their leader Narendra Modi for a third time in the Gujarat elections, Congress workers could barely hide their feeling of disappointment.

Sonil Dedhia and Prasanna D Zore were present at the BJP and Congress headquarters in Ahmedabad to witness the celebrations as well as the dejection. They narrate some interesting encounters on the sidelines of the political brouhaha

After the horrific post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, most members of the Muslim community had voted against Narendra Modi. But things seem to have changed since.

During these elections, a lot of Muslims are rooting for Modi to come back to power. Among them are Mohammed Sajjad and Mohammed Shaikh, who are waiting outside the Bharatiya Janata Party's headquarters.

"There is no one who can defeat Modi. He has done a lot to develop Gujarat," said Shaikh.

Speaking about the Godhra riots, he said, "That is a thing of the past. In the last 10 years, there has not been a single day when Gujarat has witnessed a curfew or a bandh."

He further added, "We have to forgive and forget and move ahead. I am sure of Modi's victory".

***

Purshottam Rupala, BJP vice president and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, had this to say after the results of the Gujarat elections trickled in.

On BJP's victory: "We contested the elections because we had to, otherwise we were certain of the victory. This is a big slap on the Congress's face".

On the Gujarat Parivartan Party: "We never considered them. They were just another party who could not do any damage to us".

On not giving any tickets to Muslim candidates: "We might not have given any tickets to Muslim candidates but we did give tickets to members of minority communities (hinting towards tribal candidates and others). Why don't people talk about that?"

He also added that Modi will decide who will head the Gujarat government if he decided to become the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.

He said maintaining law and order, peace and an environment conducive for economic growth of six crore Gujaratis will be the chief priority of the next BJP government.

"The main challenge before the party when it went to the polls was countering Congress's below-the-belt campaign against Modi," Rupala said.

"We had decided to counter this challenge by not speaking ill about the Congress but by focussing on the state's progress," he said.

Speaking about Modi being perceived as the next prime minister, Rupala said he would like to see him in that role but a final decision on the issue will be taken by the BJP.

"Not only six crore Gujaratis, but 110 crore Indians want to see him in that position," Rupala observed.

He said the mandate in 2012 belonged to just one man and his 12-year-rule which had convinced Gujarati voters that only Modi has the capability to work for their progress without any discrimination.

***

This is what BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy told Rediff.com about Modi's victory, "It is a spectacular victory. Contrary to what (finance minister) P Chidambaram may say about Modi being  contained to 117 deats, it is a great victory. The mandate has been reinforced by the people of Gujarat. He is the acceptable chief ministerial candidate".

On the way being cleared now for Modi's journey to the PM's post, he said this was a call the party would take.

"Right now, he has won a spectacular third term as the CM and we must celebrate that," he said.

***

The deserted Congress headquarters at Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan at Ellis Bridge, Ahmedabad says it all: The Congress in Gujarat has once again failed to convince the voters that they are a viable alternative to the Narendra Modi led government.

State Congress spokesperson Chetan Raval said the party needs to introspect on why it could not communicate its progressive agenda to the people. He added that the fact that even the BJP could not muster a strong show this time should give some hope to his party.

He admitted that the party might have made mistakes in conveying the Congress's agenda to the people.

Congress workers, the few of them who had gathered at party headquarters, seemed listless. Watching the leads on television channels, they expressed dejection about their party's showing.

''We could have done better than this," said Jagruti Kapadia cheerlessly.

***

A couple of metres away from Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan, Congress workers Rahil Shaikh, Javid Baghban and Sohil Solanki are engaged in gossip over tea and are analysing the results that are streaming in.

"We are a bit dejected by the results," says Solanki. All of them believe that the Congress could have done better.

"We were upbeat when there was a record turnout in both the phases," says Baghban.

"But now that the numbers are in the BJP's favour, we are upset. We had a better development programme than the BJP," he said.

Raval, spokesperson for the state Congress, said he was not sure if top party leaders like Shankersinh Vaghela, Arjun Modhvadia or Shaktisinh Gohil will address their supporters or the media at the end of the day.

"I am not sure if they will be here.  They must be busy in their respective constituencies," Raval said.

Sonil Dedhia and Prasanna D Zore in Ahmedabad