Gujarat assembly elections are
announced and every bit of analysis is focused on highlighting its importance
in the context of the next general elections in India. Now only the time will tell
for whom it is going to be a sobriquet and for whom a compliment.
Also, much is being written about
Narendra Modi’s prime-ministerial ambitions and, he too, knows, that the road
to the 7 Race Course Road
in the next general elections for him opens only through yet another win of Gujarat’s highest administrative office.
But as a bitter war of words is
to ensue in its full fervour, things are looking more favourable for the
incumbent chief minister Narendra Modi and if (and only if) we rule out
the ‘Spiral of Silence’ like effect of the ‘2004 India Shining’
campaign of the National Democratic Alliance government (NDA), he looks
There are indeed grounds like the
2004 scenario when the national government was busy beating the bush about its
industrial growth bravado showing the ‘aam aadmi’ empty miracles of the high-flying
Sensex figures and consistently high GDP stats. India was shining but the NDA
government forgot the ‘Bharat’ story in the all this. The larger chunk of the
Indians inhabiting the Non-metros, who form the major chunk of the voters, was
staring at dilapidated lives and a widening wealth gap with their ‘India’-counterparts.
The wealth was there. Its upward creation was there. But its distribution was
highly skewed. That left the majority high and dry.
Similar conditions are in Gujarat on certain vital parameters.
Beyond the punctured claims of
the Vibrant Gujarat (over $800 Billion of investment MoUs signed since 2003,
when the Vibrant Gujarat summits became a
state event), ‘much’ darkness prevails.
Reports say quoting the
Tendulkar Committee that Gujarat has the
highest poverty rate in the country.
Reportedly, Modi’s tenure has
seen around 17,000 distress-suicides, of around 10,000 workers, around 6,000
farmers and around 1000 labourers.
performs poorly on hunger level. A National Council for Applied Economic
Research (NCAER) study says Gujarat lags behind states like West
Bengal and even Uttar Pradesh. According to the Human Development
Report 2011, Gujarat is ranked 13th on hunger index, below states
like Assam, West Bengal and Odisha.
The same report says 44.6 per
cent of the Gujarati children below the age of 5 are malnourished while 69.7
per cent are anaemic. While the state government’s child welfare minister
accepted in the state assembly in March 2011 that 40 per cent of Gujarati
children in the same age-group were malnourished. Even that is a shameful
figure for the Vibrant Gujarat.
is performing poorly than the national average/performance on other major
social parameters like Life Expectancy, maternal mortality, infant mortality
rate, school enrolments and school dropouts.
Even on the industrial growth
parameter, an RBI report says Gujarat has been able to get just 5 per cent of
the FDI inflows in India, far below the 35 per cent of Maharashtra and is in
the lower league of 6 per cent of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Why then Narendra Modi is looking
positioned to sail back in the office?