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Rahul Gandhi’s Zabardast Jhatka in Gujarat Election

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Rahul Gandhi, the newly-anointed president of the Congress party, reacted to the results of the Gujarat assembly election 2017 saying that the polls had delivered the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a zabardast jhatka (terrific shock), exposing Narendra Modi’s credibility crisis (Times of India 2017). The Gujarat elections were no ordinary elections; they could be considered a prelude to the 2019 national election that beholds the palpable danger of India being formally transformed into a fascist Hindu rashtra if the BJP continues on its winning streak.

Gujarat offered the Congress a unique opportunity to win this election. It was the first Gujarat state election in 22 years that did not project Modi as the chief minister or show any credible face in his place. The anti-incumbency factor coupled with BJP’s complacency and arrogance had put the ruling party on its backfoot. All the notable communities in the state (the Patidars under Hardik Patel’s leadership, the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) under Alpesh Thakor, and the Dalits galvanised by Jignesh Mevani) had openly and vocally taken stands against the BJP. Farmers suffering from an aggravated agrarian crisis, youth facing rising unemployment, and traders and petty business­persons (BJP’s core constituency) agitated by demonetisation and the goods and services tax (GST) were also voicing their dissent. What more could the opposition have wished for? If, against all these odds, the BJP still won a comfortable majority in the assembly with an increased percentage of votes, one wonders what shock Gandhi was speaking of.

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Updated On : 9th Jan, 2018

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