The one record that Prime Minister Narendra Modi as chief minister of Gujarat was not been able to better is Madhavsinh Solanki’s score of one less than 150 in 1985 state assembly elections.
But a record win in Uttar Pradesh this time around has enthused the BJP and it is now setting its eye on Congress veteran’s 1985 massive mandate which pulverised the opposition and reduced it to less than 11 seats in assembly of 182.
Mission 150 is something that the BJP will be attempting to accomplish in Gujarat when the state goes to the polls later this year.
State Chief Minister Vijay Rupani speaking at Salangpur in Bhavnagar district said it is for the party high command to decide on calling early elections. So far, he has maintained that elections would be held on time.
The state election commission has also asked all district collectors to give final shape to the voter’s list. In another development, the state government has of late discretely inquired about the availability of teachers and government staff which are pressed into services for conducting elections.
BJP President Amit Shah as usual would be leading BJP’s charge. Shah will hold a Vijay Sankalp Karyakarta Sammelan on Wednesday.
It took BJP almost a decade to completely dismantle Solanki’s formula to outnumber any ideological opposition by mobilising Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasis and Muslims (KHAM) against Patidars and other upper castes. BJP with Patidars at the core of its electoral strategy dismantled this social coalition with a larger Hindu mobilisation.
However, the Patels after sticking to the BJP for more than three decades have now been demanding reservation under the Backward classes category. The agitation led by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) under Hardik Patel and his associates has been attempting to disrupt old and crystallised political narratives.
But the massive victory in UP has come as a shot in the arm for the BJP in Gujarat. After its first experiment in Gujarat of bringing larger OBC and upper caste on one platforms, BJP successfully repeated the feat more than two decades later in UP.
The challenge now is to keep the winning combination intact in Gujarat, where it all started three decades ago.