Anxious wait for lone ranger Modi untill December 23

Written by Mukesh Ranjan | New Delhi, Dec 16 | Updated: Dec 17 2007, 05:58am hrs
The Assembly elections in Gujarat could well be a referendum on Moditava, whichchief minister Narendra Modi weaved around his development plank and communal card. The second and final phase of voting was held on Sunday and the results would be declared on December 23.

The results would also be historic in the truest sense because the ramifications of his victory or defeat would be felt not only in the state, but might change the course of politics in India.

No doubt at the moment, Modi appears to be a loner in his own party at the state level. He not only suffers from dissidence, Modi also failed to solicit unflinching support from the RSS and VHP, which are strong enough in the state to influence the poll outcome.

Dominant Patels under the stewardship of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel have the potential to damage him in Saurashtra and South Gujarat. Similarly, rural voters, particularly tribals in central and south Gujarat looked apathetic to his development plank.

If Moditva fails, though it appears unlikely as most of the exit polls ruled out his exit from the office, the outcome could perpetuate his isolation. His detractors in the Sangh Parivar would be emboldened and it would be difficult for the BJPs central leadership to defend him.

But political observers, however, feel that he still has a ray of hope in partys Prime Minister designate LK Advani, who could come in his rescue.

His defeat would also mean a lot to Congress and other secular parties in the UPA, as this might invigorate them to out brand BJP and its communal politics, which would change the course of national polity.

Moreover, a win for Modi with a reduced number (127 in 2002) would also affect his image and style of politics. As most of his detractors in the Sangh Parivar prefer this situation where BJP forms the government in the state, but with a reduced margin. They think that in such a case, it would be a victory for BJP and not of Modi.

In such a scenario, we will be able to assert ourselves at different forums of the Parivar, an anti-Modi functionary of VHP said.

But if Modi succeeds in taking the partys tally beyond the 2002 mark, it would be him all the way both in the state and at the central level.

In such a case, the leadership issue after Advani would settled for ever amid the generation next of BJP, feel most political observers.

Dissidents will see political death for them at least for the next 5 years and the Congress and the UPA would have to rejig their strategy for the fresh round of national elections in 2009.