Debating India

What happened in the polls?

Janyala SREENIVAS

Wednesday 26 May 2004, by SREENIVAS*Janyala

VADNAGAR, MAY 25 Elections are over and so is government formation, but in Vadnagar, the hometown of Narendra Modi, politics is still being hotly debated at every chowk and tea stall. The BJP’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections and the flak its star campaigner is facing is the talk of the town as well as Modi’s family.

Neighbours are also weighing the impact of Keshubhai Patel’s meeting with the Governor, and Shankersinh Vaghela, Modi’s bete noire, becoming a Cabinet minister on the CM’s future. ??Something seems to have gone wrong. Unexpected things have happened,’’ says Hiraben, Modi’s 88-year-old mother who stays glued to the TV to keep herself abreast of all the latest political developments. And as an afterthought, she adds: ??He will have to work harder now to strengthen his position again.’’ Pankaj Modi, the Chief Minister’s youngest brother, admits, ??The current developments have made it tough for him. No one expected anything like this. What course fate takes from here, no one knows.’’

There was a quiet pride in Vadnagar in November 2001 and in December 2002 when Modi became the CM. Today, the situation is different. In spite of Modi’s attempts to give something back , his image has taken a beating of late. The CM has sanctioned over Rs 2 crore for various projects in Vadnagar, which has been declared a heritage town. The Sarmista lake has been desilted and now has water from Dharoi dam,. The historic Tana Riri deris have been renovated and there is also a new taluka panchayat building.

??Political fortunes change with time. Maybe people did not like the policies of BJP and the attitude of Narendrabhai. He is no more the hero he used to be,’’ says Mahesh Thakkar, a builder. ??The situation has changed in one-and-a-half years and we no longer think he will be able to continue like this as chief minister. There will be a power struggle,” Baldevbhai Vaghela, a cloth merchant says.

See online : Rediff News

P.S.

in Rediff News, Wednesday, May 26, 2004.

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