Fasgaya – The aftermath of the Gujarat Elections: Lessons for future elections..

27 DECEMBER 2017



"The Congress tried its level best to get back to power as it had the best chances in Gujarat this time. But it adopted all wrong strategies in trying to achieve its objective. Let us list these strategies.

Wrong Single point focus on anti Modi propaganda;

Raga announced that the Congress tickets would be given in the upcoming Gujarat elections only to those who oppose Narendra Modi. Is this criterion set for getting a ticket for contest in the elections right? The criterion for getting a ticket seemed to be just one thing: opposition to just one man – Narendra Modi! The elementary common sense would have assumed that the electorate is not interested in opposing just one man like the congress party’s or the family’s objective; the common man is interested in getting ahead in life himself. Eliminating Narendra Modi from power may be of interest to Raga, the family and the Congress but not to the common man. So the focus itself was wrong. If the focus itself was wrong to start with, how the end result would be favourable?

Unfortunately if Narendra Modi had hailed from a state other than Gujarat, there would have been an atom of a chance, but he hailed from Gujarat. How can you tell the people of the State that you hate their mass leader and expect to get votes from them? Even this shows lack of elementary common sense in strategizing.

Stooping low to abhorrent levels in criticizing Modi:

Raga and the Congress stooped so low in an attempt to prove that the mass leader of Gujarat is no good at all. They called him Hitler, neech, dalal, fake, a liar who only promises and never keeps up his promise and never delivers any of his promises ; they tried to prove that he did nothing to the people of Gujarat in the last 22 years of BJP rule, he fooled the people of Gujarat during his tenure as CM for 3 terms, that his vision for Gujarat and his development model had failed, that it is only a bundle of lies to fool the people of Gujarat etc. etc. In their over enthusiasm to criticize one man, they forgot the simple fact that the recipients of the benefit of his rule were the people and they cannot be fooled into believing that what they experienced were not true but only Raga’s accusations were true. Obviously people took Raga as a liar as what he accused Modi was the opposite of what people experienced during his rule.

Moreover the Congress in its desperation, thought that simply getting together an assorted group of people to form an anti Modi alliance and promising them even what is obviously impossible, would turn the tide against Modi and for them, and this too flopped. See the extent to which the Congress went in promising reservation for Patels even though, as per Supreme court’s judgment, this was unconstitutional.

It was a fight between false (as perceived by the people of Gujarat) propaganda by Congress and the performance of the BJP. And as it always happens with a mature electorate in a democracy, like the electorate of Gujarat, the performance won and the propaganda failed. And BJP got a better vote share even compared to the last election.

Crossing Lakshman Rekha in personal accusation:

In the last minute Modi had no option except to answer the heaps of negative personal propaganda used by the Congress against him. Congress had expected Modi not to respond as he normally does not respond to personal attacks on him. But as Modi knows if he does not respond this time, it would have meant that the attacks on him may be construed as true, as silence may mean acceptance and the Congress would have made another propaganda as such. So he answered this so effectively and ferociously- inciting the Gujarati pride- that cost the Congress heavily.

This claim of development model failing and personal attacks on Modi too failed as they were after all negative strategies. The Congress had no vision at all for Gujarat.

Mere recitation of the problmes faced by people won’t do:

Another strategic mistake done by the Congress was to presume that mere recitation of the problems faced by the people, even if true, is sufficient to get votes and become victorious in an election. So they tried invoking of farmer issues, division of society on caste basis, (Patels vs others, Dalits vs others), division of society by religion as exhibited by temple visits which eroded the age-old Congress’s erroneous version of secularism (that may have cost some Muslim votes to them), lack of jobs for the youth etc. But they did not give a road map to solve any of these problems except promising that these problems, including finding crores of jobs for the youth, would be solved by them in six months! The “what” and “how” portion of the solution was obviously missing because they just did not have any solution, leave alone a better one!

The Gujarat election results proved a few critically important things for the future elections in the country:

Simply being anti-Modi does not work. Opposition for opposition sake does not work at all. You need to have a vision and a road map of what and how to, in order to convince people.

You cannot compete with a mass -leader unless you are one yourself as perceived by people and not selected and presumed by yourself.

Do not indulge in personal criticism of an individual. After all, you are not holier than the cow!

Use an acceptably decent language in criticizing others personally, if you cannot avoid personal criticism. Particularly if you do not know the language you are talking in, as Mani Shanker Iyer claimed after his ‘neech’ remark. People ignored the explanation of Mani Iyer, they clearly saw the body language that amply showed the hate in him for Modi. The Congress fought the Gujarat elections based on hate, as people could visibly see Mani shanker Iyer’s body language as he was pronouncing Modi as neech! And to top it all, Raga said that Congress was fighting the Gujarat elections on the basis of love! This claim further eroded the trust of people on Raga and they thought that Raga was a liar. Not just BJP was angered at the neech remark but, more importantly, the people of Gujarat were. Suspension of Mani Iyer by the congress was seen as an election gimmick by Raga just like other gimmicks from him. Certainly hate, vindictive and emotional speeches have failed in the closely fought Gujarat elections and are not going to work any more.

Performance in people’s service wins elections and not propaganda and empty promises like Garibi Hatao of Indira Gandhi and other slogans of the Congress ever since, anymore.

Mere recitation of problems does not work; you have to come out with an outline of how you are going to solve the problem in a better way than the ruling party is doing.

Dividing and getting votes, along caste, creed, religion, language etc.- the old vote bank politics – does not work any more.

Genuineness to solve people’s problems is far more critical as it results in getting people’s trust in the party and the candidate. It is the trust of the people that wins elections, not propaganda. After all people are God in any election in a multi-party democracy.

You can make even massive changes like demonetization, GST etc. in a massive country like ours with people’s support. No point in opposition opposing these when people support these in spite of temporary inconvenience to them. Earning people’s trust depends on genuineness by you in solving their problems in a well envisioned systematic way. People are prepared to make small short-term sacrifices for the long-term good to the country and to their future generations.

Far better thing for Raga and the Congress party to do would be:

Support the Govt. if what the Govt. decides and acts on is in the interest of the people – may be not in short term but in long term. While extending support make sure to point out scope for improvement in what the Govt is doing and the how of going about it.

Do oppose what the Govt. decides and does if it is not in the interest of people in the long term.

This way people will perceive the Congress to be a positive opposition than the negative one it is today with the policy of “oppose for opposing sake” blindly. People have not forgotten the negative and the stalling role the Congress party played in the Rajya Sabha, and even now playing in the Lok Sabha, they may not forget it till the next general elections.

The net of Gujarat election results:

Who won in the end is the people of this great Nation: They have sent a great signal that Indian democracy is maturing. This augurs well for the country and its people".

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