FRONTLINE
Narendra Modi BJP Gujarat Election Image Credit: FRONTLINE
Narendra Modi BJP Gujarat Election Image Credit: FRONTLINE

Gujarat's Battle Lines

The BJP juggernaut with its propaganda about the Gujarat model of development has been brought up short by new players in the State’s electoral battle in 2017.

Venkitesh Ramakrishnan

Late in the evening on November 13, 2017, several senior political journalists of Ahmedabad received serial calls from some spokespersons and leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with a peculiar request. All of them wanted the journalists to mention in their copy that the BJP had no role in circulating the alleged sex video CD featuring Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel. The request was totally at variance with the positions adopted by a large number of BJP and Sangh Parivar social media activists a few hours earlier. The CD had been uploaded that afternoon and had become viral on social media, with the Sangh Parivar “cyber warriors” spreading it vociferously with enough suggestions that they had successfully cornered the young Patidar leader, who was posing a serious challenge to the BJP in the State.

However, this sense of triumph did not last long. Within hours, it was evident that the “expose” did not have the desired political impact for the BJP and its associate organisations. On the contrary, PAAS supporters, especially the large number of youngsters in their ranks, appeared even more aggressive in their opposition to the BJP. The invasion of privacy appeared to make a greater impact on popular perception, rather than any message of loose morals. Sangh Parivar insiders ad


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