How Modi saved the day for the BJP in Gujarat
For the BJP in Gujarat, it was Narendra Modi who saved the day. None of the local leaders of the BJP were able to step up the campaign. It had to be Modi for the BJP and had it not been for him, the verdict would have something very different.
The campaign began with the Congress mocking the Gujarat model and the development plank raised by the BJP. Modi, however, hit back with the slogan, " I am vikas, I am Gujarat." In this part of the campaign, Modi focused heavily on development, water, education among other key areas.
Modi also sought to demolish the narrative by the Congress that his government was only pro-rich. With the middle-class Modi spoke about affordable housing and the reduction of stent prices. With the poor, he sent the message about free toilets. He even went on to ask if Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani needed public toilets or were it the poor which needed them.
The big challenge Modi had was to beat the narrative against both GST and demonetisation. The Congress attacked him regularly on this and even tried to convince the voter that it had taken a direct beating on their pockets. However, Modi managed to change the narrative by speaking about the long-term effects of the decisions.
Just when one thought that the Congress was on the upward, there was a 'maut ka saudagar' like moment this time too. This time it was Mani Shankar Aiyar's 'neech' comment that Modi latched on to. If one may recall Modi spent a good half an hour in one rally documenting the abuse against himself. He managed to get the sympathy of the voter. The voter, in turn, latched on to their man.
The final leg of the campaign was about soft Hindutva. He referred to Aurangazeb when speaking about Rahul Gandhi's elevation as Congress chief. Modi then went on to speak about Kapil Sibal's comment in the Supreme Court on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. He managed to convince the voter that the Congress was somehow against the temple. One more reference made by Modi was about a meeting that took place in Aiyar's house. He said that there was a plan being hatched between the Congress and Pakistan to defeat the BJP.
At the end of it, it was a hard-fought battle and the victory solely belongs to Narendra Modi.