The last time Gujarat saw a Congress chief minister was on 13th March 1995. On this very day, Late Chhabildas Mehta was replaced by Keshubhai Patel after he got elected as the first BJP Chief Minister of Gujarat. So for more than 27 years, Congress has not been in power in Gujarat. Events on Wednesday are kind of proof that the Gujarat Congress is very much enjoying being in the opposition and doesn’t want to return to power at the earliest. Gujarat Pradesh Congress president Jagdish Thakor made an irresponsible statement at a meeting of minority leaders in Ahmedabad that could have already closed the doors of power for his party in Gujarat much before Gujarat Assembly Elections 2022.
In that meeting, Jagdish Thakor promised concrete houses for all the Muslims living in slums across Gujarat if Congress comes back in the power. That was fine, every political party makes such promises during every election. But what mistake Thakor made was that after giving this promise he repeated the statement of the former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, that Muslims have the first rights on national resources. Thakor added that even today Congress firmly believes in what Dr. Singh said years ago.
Even a common Gujarati knows that his state is considered to be the laboratory of Hindutva for the BJP. Gujaratis in a heavy majority are right-leaning people and yet the Congress state president could make such an irresponsible statement is nothing but shocking. To please Muslims, we know Congress can go to any extent, but this statement has pressed the self-destruction mode button and it is shocking for anyone who follows Gujarat politics closely.
In my earlier blog, I described that how Congress will not help itself by appointing 7 working presidents in the state, because its house is in a total mess. Considering that fact Jagdish Thakor should have thought twice before making such a statement in public, even if that could please his vote bank. Such a stand taken by the Gujarat Congress just a few months before the voting will make BJP’s voters more supportive of their favorite party and those voters who are sitting on fences may like to tilt towards the BJP after hearing this from the Gujarat Pradesh Congress President himself.
A person with the stature of state president of a national political party just can’t make such a statement in public in a hurry or just like that. There must be a few reasons that must be pinching him or luring him to say what he said. The primary reason one can see is the emergence of AAP and AIMIM on Gujarat’s political horizon. On one side Congress fears that AAP will be cutting through its core votes and on the other, the party is almost sure that the AIMIM is going to reduce its influence on Muslim voters of Gujarat.
So, to intact the Muslim vote bank Jagdish Thakore could have forced himself to repeat what Dr. Manmohan Singh said years back. But as I have written already this statement has created anger among the Hindus of Gujarat. They already have denied Congress but they still want it to be a good opposition party and with such bold words by Thakor the unpleasant feeling of Congress within the Hindus of Gujarat has increased in many folds.
During his speech, Jagdish Thakore even brought the analogy from that famous story where an evil magician’s soul rested in a parrot’s neck. He compared that evil magician with Narendra Modi and added that we need to bend the neck of the parrot (Gujarat BJP) so that the evil magician’s influence in Gujarat could end. In other or much simpler words, What Thakor meant was that by defeating BJP in Modi’s stronghold, that is Gujarat, Congress can get back the power at the center as well.
In past, too many Congress leaders have used derogatory language or comparisons to insult Narendra Modi. But Modi is smart enough that he has always diverted those personal insults as insults to the entire Gujarati community. We all know how the table turned after Sonia Gandhi’s remark of ‘Maut Ka Saudagar’ during the 2007 Gujarat Assembly Elections campaign. I will be surprised if Modi doesn’t bring that parrot story during this year’s campaign in Gujarat for the assembly elections. If that happens that Jagdish Thakor would regret for the analogy he brought just to please his vote bank.
If this statement wasn’t a shocker came Jignesh Mewani, one of the 7 newly appointed working presidents of Gujarat Congress, and he saluted Teesta Setalwad during his speech for fighting for the cause of Gujarat’s Muslims. The popularity of Narendra Modi in Gujarat is next to none, and after Supreme Court’s observations that Teesta and her gang tried their best to put Narendra Modi in fix regarding the Gujarat riots, the dislike towards Teesta in Gujarati Hindus has not only increased but it has reached its peak.
So, when Jignesh Mewani saluted Teesta Setalwad against whom an average Gujarati is extremely angry he probably forfeited whatever winning chances Gujarat Congress had in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly Elections of 2022. After Supreme Court’s observations, Gujarat police’s SIT is digging further into the false claims made by Teesta Setalwad, RB Sreekumar, and Sanjiv Bhatt. Every day, there has been a new revelation coming out in open against them.
With these facts on the ground, these statements by Jagdish Thakor and Jignesh Mewani have pushed Congress’ Hindu voters further away from it. I am just a fan of Indian politics and not an analyst but just a few weeks back I was thinking that in Gujarat Assembly Elections 2022, Congress will at least get 50 seats if not more, but with the statements given on Wednesday by the top leadership of Gujarat Congress, I think the Congress may shrink within 40 seats in December.
If that happens then both the AIMIM and the AAP have every chance to win at least 1 to 2 seats each in the Gujarat assembly after the elections get over in December 2022 for the first time. During my random discussions with friends, often I have predicted a minimum of 120 seats for the BJP this time around, and now I will increase my tally up to 125 to 130 seats with every chance of the BJP breaking the record of winning the most number of seats in the Gujarat assembly set by Congress only.
Madhavsinh Solanki lead Congress has a record of winning 149 seats and now Gujarat Congress itself is preparing the ground for the BJP to break its own record. All in all only a miracle can get Congress more than 50 seats in Gujarat the way Jagdish Thakor is handling the party right now.
We know that just like winning is a habit, losing is also a habit. If you keep on losing elections after elections and that too with huge margins all the time it is possible that you also lose interest in winning. The same thing might have happened with the Gujarat Congress and instead of making its ground strong on the weaker aspects of the BJP government, it is putting its own leg on the ax. All in all, it seems that Congress in Gujarat is happy being in opposition no matter how many fewer seats it has in the assembly.
Update: There is one more clip of a Gujarat Congress leader that is making rounds on WhatsApp. In that clip, Kadir Pirzada is questioning the state leadership that why it ran behind Hardik Patel and Naresh Patel to get 11% Patidar votes? Instead, they should concentrate on Muslims and secure 120 seats in the Gujarat Assembly. This has also triggered another controversy where Patidars have now got angry over Congress and have started asking uncomfortable questions to the top leadership of Gujarat Congress.
I will keep writing more blogs before the Gujarat assembly elections in 2022 and will update my predictions time and again. So keep visiting this space again and again.
Till then it is Avjo from me.
22nd July 2022, Friday