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Voters support BJP not for love but for keeping away rabid anti-Hindus in Congress camp

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ThePrint asks:

Do Gujarat poll results show voters are seeking younger, newer leaders?

In the absence of genuine social research uninfluenced by ideologies and party interests, it is futile to wait for serious data about how Gujaratis actually voted. However, some signs are visible.

That a huge leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to sweat it out in his home, despite no organised opposition and just months after a sweep of the Uttar Pradesh elections, says a lot about the voters’ mind now. Increasing number of voters now takes situation-specific decisions. The last Delhi assembly elections had also shown it. No foregone conclusions now.

Thus, ‘Gujarat pride’ or ‘development as the panacea of all problems’ cut little ice. An appeal to the Hindu sentiments had to be made by the BJP, reminding that the Congress is almost a Muslim party. Rahul went from temple to temple and made an attempt to amend the image. It was a fight for conscious Hindu votes. The conspicuous absence of ‘Congress-free India’ slogan by the BJP was also an indicator that the voters might have other priorities.

So younger or not, they might be looking for alternatives. People want to see national social problems like security and increasing crimes, solved in real sense, not propaganda alone. The same goes for the issues of corruption, efficiency and claims of ‘less government, more governance’. A number of voters are tired of phrase-mongering and pseudo-Hindutva, used for votes but forgotten soon in favour of routine show and party-aggrandisement.

In a way, leaders are behind and a segment of Hindu voters are ahead. They support BJP not for love but for keeping away rabid anti-Hindus, whom the Congress harbours as a matter of course.

The caste and local equations are always at work but more or less divided among parties, cancelling each other’s tricks. The communal-religious equality is the elephant in the room that no party or psephologist wants to see.

Shankar Sharan is a Hindi columnist and professor, Political Science, NCERT.

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