“Yeh Gujarat hai, yahan Congress aur Alcohol kabhi nahin aa sakte.” – A youth was quoted as saying.
Chutni, the Gujarati word used for ‘Elections’ is probably the most used words nowadays in the State. Our team is already on the ground and we are trying to understand the pulse of Gujarat, especially of the Youths. Team Jan Ki baat team decided to roam around the city and get to know the pulse of Guajrat and so we decided to visit Ashram Road, City Gold Cinema and it has must be said that we felt the the heat of Chutni and we also talked to a few youths and got to know their view point as to who is going to rule the state for the next 5 years and we got the most interesting answers.
The Unanimous opinion of the Youth was that two main parties namely BJP & Congress are at loggerheads in the State and the caste factor won’t make much difference in the elections as Hardik patel has no more remained popular in the state. A youth was quoted as saying,
Yahan Dil se khelte hain log, Gujarat Modi ka hai, Caste based kuch nahin chalega yahan pe.
Well, the statement says a lot. A youth even went ahead and said that
Anamat waise to nahin honi chahiye aur jo hai use nikalna chahiye.
It is interesting to know that on one hand Hardik Patel, a youth himself is keen on getting reservations for its own community, while on the other hand youths, who talked to us, were in denial of the need of reservations. ‘Development’ and ‘Modi ji’ remained the popular notion of discussion among the youths.
Needless to say that the upcoming elections in Gujarat would require Reservations to take back seat and let Vikas drive the state. Also, on the issue of education and plight of poor people, youths believed that Modi has done all under his capacity as Chief Minister and now as the Prime Minister; and undoubtedly, he is Vikas and he is Gujarat and yes Vikas pagal nahin hua, buddhiman hua hai.
The youths who talked to us straightaway predicted the win of Bhartiya Janta Party in the state: with Modi still being the popular choice despite the fact that he isn’t going to rule the State himself. It is very fascinating to know that Modi phenomenon has not vanished from the state (even when he is being heavily criticised for the way he implemented GST and took the step of Demonetization) and he is still considered the son of soil who will do what suits best to his state. While the Congress looks stronger than ever in the state, yet the charisma of Modi seems to be surpassing the popularity of Congress’ vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
It is well accepted that there is no option other than the BJP and it could be said that Congress’ is lagging far behind in terms of setting a parallel narrative for the people of Gujarat. Youths believed Rahul Gandhi and Hardik patel may have important opinions to make, yet their way is wrong to ask for and promote reservations.
With Developmental Agenda deep in his head, there is no denial that Modi and BJP together have caused great problems to the people who deal in black money and who are corrupt. And on the issue of people facing difficulties, one youth was quoted as saying “initially there may be problems, but soon it will serve the people only and it takes time to adjust with something new”. Youths suggested many things to the present as well as prospective Government and which included; Pakistan problem should be solved, Better Hospitals in the state, removing reservations at all, Development should be more outreaching including the villages and the Government schemes should work on an outcome based profile and accountability must be ensured with proper implementation of such schemes. A youth even went ahead and said that, proper care should be taken of the poor and
“aap chhote aadmi ke hath pakdo to bade aadmi ke pair nahin pakadne padenge”.
Gujarat has remained the stronghold of BJP and even after ruling it for 22 years, there is no apparent risk of anti-incumbency upon its head. GST & Demonetization may have faced a lot of criticism but the pulse of Gujarat does feel that at least steps are taken in a strict manner and in long run such radical steps will ultimately benefit the people only. However,one youth did say that the only thing which puts Congress in a better position is the BJP’s Chief Ministerial Candidate Vijay rupani.
His popularity cannot be traced much in the state and people still vote in the name of Modi. While people have adjusted with Rupani as their Chief Minister, some even suggested making Amit Shah, the Chief Minister this time; however that doesn’t seem feasible right now. This election will be and interesting event to know whether Modi Card is still workable in his own state. A lot of things are at stake for Modi and BJP in Gujarat, but one thing is sure that the youth is in no mood to disappoint the ruling party in the state in the upcoming elections.
– A ground report by Jan ki Baat founding partner Akriti Bhatia.
– Story by Sparsh Upadhyay