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Friday, June 21, 2024

Polls In Two States: BJP = Cong

The road for 2024 is getting laid and everybody in the reckoning is heading straight for the reckoning. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi has his two “PM terms”, AAP is already positioning Arvind Kejriwal as ‘Challenger No 1’. The only one away from the madding crowd is Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. That said there is the Delhi story, the Gujarat story, and the Himachal story. On December 8, Bilkis Bano lost. It did not matter to the electorate of Gujarat that Bilkis rapists walked free. It did not matter that over 100 were killed in Morbi. It did not matter that home minister Amit Shah resurrected a dark chapter with “we taught them a lesson in 2002”.

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Gujarat for Bharatiya Janata Party. Himachal Pradesh went to Congress. Does that spell equal=equal, overall, neither party won, neither party lost? Delhi’s ‘Big Boss’ Aam Aadmi Party failed at both places. And that will rankle. One day right on top of the world, the other day, down in the dumps! Just like the freebies, gone in two minutes! The big thing is everybody has got something to brag about. The road for 2024 is getting laid and everybody in the reckoning is heading straight for the reckoning. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi has his two “PM terms”, AAP is already positioning Arvind Kejriwal as ‘Challenger No 1’. The only one away from the madding crowd is Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. That said there is the Delhi story, the Gujarat story, and the Himachal story. On December 8, Bilkis Bano lost. It did not matter to the electorate of Gujarat that Bilkis rapists walked free. It did not matter that over 100 were killed in Morbi. It did not matter that home minister Amit Shah resurrected a dark chapter with “we taught them a lesson in 2002”.

The majority of Gujarati Hindus were all for rewarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP with the biggest-ever electoral victory. The BJP took the fullest advantage of playing the victim card along with the Hindutva card; claiming that everybody and nobody, had ganged up against the “people of Gujarat”, and were “besmirching Gujarat” and Gujarati all around the world. All of it bunkum, of course, but in the election-charged atmosphere, it struck the right chord. December 8, outgoing Gujarat home minister, the Amit Shah protégé Harsh Sanghavi, thanked “Gujarat’s voters” for teaching a lesson to those who had insulted “Gujarat and Gujarati”. The not-so-subtle dog-whistling hit the target and resounded well with much of the electorate. The victory on December 8 was largely due to a re-consolidation of Hindu votes in favor of the BJP. Bilkis Bano’s gang rapists were allowed to walk free not for “good behaviour” alone.

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AAP’s Delhi-MCD victory pales in front of the BJP’s victories in Uttar Pradesh, and now in Gujarat also. It is clear that AAP’s Delhi Model hasn’t found any takers outside Delhi except in Punjab earlier this year, which can be taken as an outlier in any manner of speaking. The coming 2023 will throw up more such chances for AAP to try its luck and its model. But the odds are stacked against AAP. Arvind Kejriwal should and must reinvent the wheel. Water and electricity freebies alone do not deliver. By now, he should have realised this primal truth. Also, appointing a “sweet-looking kid” as the “prabhari” of a state going to polls does not always deliver the same result. Raghav Chadha’s clean-cut looks struck gold in Punjab but failed to cut ice with the Gujarat electorate. At the end of the story, it is about whether it is the end of the Congress story in Gujarat. The cool climes of Himachal Pradesh will not tell the story, analysing Rahul Gandhi’s absence from the campaign can, and most probably would. Congress should look for it in the heat and dust of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. This one, or in another one.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
Welcome to The Hills Times, your trusted source for daily news and updates in English from the heart of Assam, India. Since our establishment in 2000, we've been dedicated to providing timely and accurate information to our readers in Diphu and Guwahati. As the first English newspaper in the then undemarcated Karbi Anglong district, we've forged a strong connection with diverse communities and age groups, earning a reputation for being a reliable source of news and insights. In addition to our print edition, we keep pace with the digital age through our website, https://thehillstimes.in, where we diligently update our readers with the latest happenings day by day. Whether it's local events, regional developments, or global news, The Hills Times strives to keep you informed with dedication and integrity. Join us in staying ahead of the curve and exploring the world through our lens.
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