Press "Enter" to skip to content

Of polls and pests: a look back at the year that was for Gujarat

Locusts, which entered the state from Pakistan through Rajasthan border left the state the same way they had come in, as the year drew to a close.

Responding to the plight of the farmers, state BJP President hit the fields beating a dish to make enough noise to unsettle the pests, at least for the cameras.

The western state saw a flurry of activities through the 365 day circle of the calendar, few of which would cast their shadow over the next or even beyond.

For starters, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formally anointed its National President Amit Shah the successor for its patriarch LK Advani by fielding him from Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency. The rally held by the party ahead of his filing of nomination saw not only the BJP heavyweights like Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari but also the Akali Dal patriarch Prakash Singh Badal, LJP leader Ramvilas Paswan as well. Ironically, Shivasena supremo Uddhav Thackeray too was present in the flagging off event.

If Rajnath Singh had minced no word in stating that “Unka (Advani’s) uttaradhikar samhalne yadi koi ja rahe hain to hamare Amitbhai unka uttaradhikar samhalne ja rahe hain.” (if someone is going to take care of his legacy, our Amitbhai is going to do it), Shah too accepted the mantle saying “Advanijiki virasatko main badi vinamrata ke saath teh dilse badi parishramke saath aagey badane ka prayas karunga.” (I would carry forward the legacy of LK Advani with lot of humility and labour).

However, it was the appeal of the Lok Sabha member from Varanasi, Narendra Modi that saw the party bagging all 26 seats in the parliamentary election, despite murmurs of anti-incumbency, especially in the saurashtra region.

The Parliamentary election also saw emerging Patidar leader Hardik Patel formally joining Congress albeit without any tangible benefit to the party at least in the Lok Sabha polls.

But almost to the surprise of Congress, BJP had to yield three out of six assembly seats that went to by-election after the Lok Sabha polls and won one of its urban citadels with a wafer-thin margin leading to some serious questions over the efficacy of the incumbent state leadership.

While Congress did get a breathing space with the win of three assembly seats in the state, the party missed the bus in raising the temperature when it came to protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that rocked the country in December and the space was largely occupied by the civil society organisations in the state, whose protests largely remained more of a routine exercise to stay relevant than anything else.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and the state leadership of the party held a major rally supporting the act in Ahmedabad.

As the year drew to a close, locusts flew in from the North and BJP state president Jitu VAghani hit the fields with his party colleagues to beat utensils and drive them away. A lot of raucous apart, the pests finally left the state, leaving behind images both agricultural and political.

Source: Economic Times