BJP’s last stand in Gujarat: Blame Congress

When left with no recourse, PM Narendra Modi falls back to his old ways of blaming the Congress for everything. However, this time, the elections are in Gujarat where the BJP has been in government for 22 years. So, he has no case castigating Congress for the numerous ills affecting the state. Out of any robust policy critiques, he has chosen the ridiculous notion of “Congress hates Gujarat.” Clearly feeling the pressure in his home state, he’s employing empty rhetoric to distract the masses.

It is, therefore, a good occasion to help Mr. Modi jog his memory. 
The Congress was the party that actually established the State of Gujarat. It was formed in 1960 when the erstwhile Bombay State was recast along linguistic lines to form Gujarat and Maharashtra. Dr. Jivraj Narayan Mehta was then elected as the First Chief Minister of Gujarat. Dr. Mehta had become a member of the INC during the Indian Independence movement, and contributed extensively to medical education, both inside and outside Gujarat. Many other INC leaders have also hailed from Gujarat. Chief among them being Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhai Patel. The Mahatma’s philosophies form the core principles the Congress rests on. Indeed, after Gandhi’s assassination, it was Sardar Patel who banned the RSS. Hence, to say that the INC hates Gujarat is ludicrous when the party counts amongst its members some of the most prominent Gujarati leaders to ever grace the national stage.

However, what has happened to Gujarat under the BJP’s watch has been far from ideal. As per the Indian Express, Gujarat has scored relatively low on development markers across all sectors. The Composite Performance Index computed by the Rajan committee, which gives equal weight to the improvement over the last decade in each category of backwardness such as education, health, household amenities, places Gujarat 14th among 28 states. Its per capita expenditure has slipped further to the 12th position. Equally surprising are its ranks in the extent of poverty and female literacy, where Gujarat stands at 14th and 15th respectively, showing no improvement by 2011–12. The Rajan committee uses “Attendance Ratios” and “Number of Primary Schools per Population of 1,000” as education variables and ranks Gujarat somewhere among the bottom six states in 2004–05 and the rank slipped further by 2009–10. For BJP to claim Gujarat as a success story, is an exercise in plain fraud. Touting the ‘Gujarat Model of Development’ as worthy of emulation is a nothing but a concerted PR campaign.

It is interesting to note that the BJP campaign in Gujarat is not highlighting the “Vikas” under Modi. No mention of stats on poverty alleviation or the number of hospitals opened. The sole focus of the campaign has become to instigate the people and to paint the Congress in a negative light. This clearly shows that the BJP has no successes to speak of in the first place.