Gujarat BJP campaign was all about PM Modi, leading up to 2024 | Gujarat Election News

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NEW DELHI: The BJP’s election campaign in Gujarat that played a crucial role in the ruling party’s big victory on Thursday, as it romped home to a fifth consecutive term, had little to do with the state or local level issues. This essentially was a trend that was set in 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi moved from the state to be at the helm of national affairs.
As usual, the only real campaigner this time was Prime Minister Modi, aided by his trusted lieutenant, home minister Amit Shah. This time, the BJP’s campaign was a build-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls rather than addressing issues at the local level. That also helped tide over local anti-incumbency factors.
The two top Gujarat leaders have successfully delivered the consistent message that ‘Gujarati asmita’ (pride) will be damaged if the state leaders steering the country at present, were to be defeated in any small or big battle that is fought on the political turf. To their credit, the Modi-Shah duo ensured there is no gap in that messaging, even this time, explained a party insider.
If the Prime Minister took time off to address no less than 31 rallies and undertook major road shows — 50km in Ahmedabad and 25km in Surat – the home minister took time off to remain in the state for days through the two-phased polls and manage every detail with care. The mission was to pull off a greater victory than before, as a build-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls when Modi will seek a third consecutive term as the Prime Minister. “The run has to begin from home … consolidating the home turf in 2022 will send out the message to the rest of the country for 2024,” said a party insider.
Incidentally, the BJP’s number tally had been diminishing at the hustings for the last assemblies, hence, it was all the more important to have a grand showing of numbers this time before the party plunges into the 2024 elections mode.
While many asked why does the PM himself has to work so hard for the assembly polls in his home state, which has also been a BJP bastion for years now, the party insider points out, “The message is I (Modi) work hard for you (people of Gujarat) and take the state to a greater glory, in return, you (Gujarati voters) vote for me with a magical mandate that strengthens me.”
In keeping with that line, PM Modi and Shah were the key campaigners whose poll promises were about national issues. Bringing global events (like G-20 meets) to investors to the state is what they talked about at poll rallies rather than local unemployment, lack of health facilities or inflation.
That the Morbi bridge collapse that killed more than 100 people just before the elections can be glossed over by voters, is a proof of how the national ideas can overrule anti-incumbency of a state government.
That every vote cast in the assembly polls in Gujarat is only for “Modi” who is Prime Minister and not for a chief minister of the people’s choice does not matter. This was proved when chief ministers kept being shuffled around by the BJP high command (read Modi-Shah) over the last few years since PM Modi himself vacated the seat in 2014, but the mandate did not waiver much, since it was meant to strengthen the Centre, which in turn would ensure that the state got its due.
While the natural anti-incumbency sets in the BJP high command at the Centre ensured more than half of the stalwarts in the party’s BJP unit were changed and new people were given the ticket to tide over local-level anger. The new faces from within the BJP also provided for the much-needed novelty factor for the voter, who may just get tired voting for the same party every time for a 32-year regime.



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