Why Rahul Gandhi failed in front of 'Gujarat ka beta' Modi
The Congress despite a good show lacked the 'indigenous' factor.
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Yes, it's true Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known for his charisma, and that is what the BJP banks on in almost all the elections.
Just when the BJP looked like struggling to shake off the 22-year anti-incumbency in Gujarat combined with the challenge from Congress and Hardik Patel's fiery campaign, Modi stepped on the gas. And the rest is, as they say, history.
Even party insiders admit had Modi not been there, the BJP wouldn't have had such a long run in Gujarat. Both his successors in Gujarat - Anandiben Patel and Vijay Rupani - failed to provide the same kind of leadership that the BJP had seen under Modi in Gujarat.
People of Gujarat liked the "Gujarat ka beta" formula floated by Modi, who clearly suggested the people, especially the urban voters and the traders, that they can have their cake and eat it too with a BJP government in both state and Centre. And that seems to have worked. Urban voters overwhelmingly voted for the BJP.
What went against the Congress?
1) The grand old party despite a good show lacked the indigenous factor to match Modi's "Gujarat ka beta". Rahul Gandhi's appeals didn't cut much ice with the voters when compared with a Gujarati-speaking Modi. Also, the fact that the urban voters chose to go with the BJP also means acceptance to Modi economic measures, including the controversial GST.
2) Hardik Patel's charm worked only on a fraction of the Patidar voters. Contrary to the Congress's expectations, the BJP won most of the Patidar-dominated pockets of Surat and Rajkot. Of course, a disappointed Hardik Patel, who had a pre-poll arrangement with the Congress, has alleged EVM-tampering.
3) Consolidating Patel, OBC and Dalit support (read politics of caste) didn't work in the Congress's favour as others, including Muslims, felt alienated.
4) The Congress only worked hard in the last four months in the run-up to Assembly elections to topple BJP's government of four and half years in the state. This push proved to be too feeble to cross the 90 seat mark.
5) NOTA polled nearly 1.8 per cent of the vote share in Gujarat. This means while many were looking for an alternative, Congress wasn't that alternative.