Instead of a steamrolling 150-seat tally, terrifying the Bharatiya Janata Party high command into an abject surrender and hailing him as a prime minister-in-waiting, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra got 115 seats, two short of his 2007 score, and enabling his party rivals to deny him what he covets the most, says Arvind J Bosmia
The Congress improved its performance by two seats when compared with its 59 in 2007. The Gujarat Parivartan Party failed to make any impact on the BJP tally which got 33 seats in Saurashtra. It got just two seats, compelling it to cancel the press conference to be held in Ahmedabad on Thursday in anticipation of winning 15 seats.
The heavy voting exceeding 70 per cent in the first round and 71 per cent in the second round, brought neither big gain or loss to any political party. Instead, it turned out to be a result neutral new normal.
The BJP improved its vote share from 46 per cent to 52 per cent in 2007, yet got two seats less. The credit for the heavy turnout goes to the Election Commission, which home delivered voters slip to all eligible voters, rather than to voters inspired by big love or hatred for any particular leader or political party.
Even 'lazy' voters bothered to vote, because they had no need to hunt for their voting booth. All they had to do was to go and press a button for the candidate of their choice. This was common to slums as well as posh housing societies.
While Saurashtra, Kutch and Central Gujarat failed to do any damage in the elections, it was the surprise reverses in BJP bastions of north Gujarat such as Mehsana, Banaskantha, and Sabarkantha where the Congress made big inroads.
The much-feared attack from Leuva Patels ended in a whimper but the party was let down by Kadva Patels and Chaudhry Patels who generally tend to vote for the BJP.
Expectedly, Modi was not so triumphant at his Vijay Sabha, which was held near the state party headquarters in Khanpur locality on Thursday evening. He attributed the victory to party workers and people of Gujarat, who saw through the lies spread by the Congress and the media.
Significantly, he admitted that the party was bigger than him and he has reached his present position due to the opportunity and the backing given by the organisation.
His ire was reserved for the media, which he alleged was spreading lies before the voting and now that the results were out it was bound to give negative spin to it. Anticipating the interpretation the media will give to the reduced tally, he thundered a majority is a majority whether it is 93 or 120.
Even as he talked of serving the motherland through serving Gujarat, the roused supporters chanted Delhi, Delhi, PM PM, he pretended not to have heard it. While he talked of being content to serve the state, he talked in Hindi and claimed that the developments in Gujarat were of vital benefit to a Keralite or an Assamese. Gujarat offered employment to people to non-Gujaratis from all over the country.
His speech in Hindi was elaborately appealing to party cadres all over the country -- they have done it in Gujarat and imbued with the Modi spirit they can do it all over the country. The only route to Delhi is through pressure from the bottom (the cadres) to the top (party high command) which should cave in to the chant, "We want Modi as PM".It may work because he is the only BJP leader with capacity to charge up the party cadres. How this strategy will unfold will become clear in the coming days.