9.57 8.01 6.22 5.29 5.03

Tehelka - - BATTLEGROUND GUJARAT -

piece by mar­ket watch­ers Sonali Ranade and Shaelja Sharma ex­am­ined the progress made by Modi’s Gu­jarat and came out with star­tling facts. In their re­port (see box for Plan­ning Com­mis­sion fig­ures) they stated:

“From 1981 through to 1998, Gu­jarat was the top per­form­ing state in terms of eco­nomic growth, much be­fore Modi took over as CM in Oc­to­ber 2001. In the pe­riod ’91 to ’98, over seven years, Gu­jarat’s growth rate was 9.57 per­cent, a good 156 ba­sis points over its near­est ri­val, Ma­ha­rash­tra. Over the 10 years that Modi has been at the helm, Ma­ha­rash­tra has closed the gap from 156 ba­sis points to just 38 ba­sis points. The other large states have done even bet­ter rel­a­tive to Gu­jarat un­der Modi in clos­ing the gap. Hence, three points need to be kept in mind. whom be­long to the Leuva and Kadva Pa­tel com­mu­ni­ties. These vot­ers are now be­ing wooed by Keshub­hai.

Vil­lages in Saurash­tra and north­ern Gu­jarat are a glar­ing ex­am­ple of ap­a­thy. Mo­han Solanki, a farmer in Ju­na­gadh, launches a scathing at­tack on Modi: “I don’t travel by in­ter­na­tional flights. So I guess I don’t know about de­vel­op­ment… There is a rage among farm­ers about the jantri prices (min­i­mum price at which land is sold). Farm­ers across Ra­jkot, Am­reli and Ju­na­gadh were asked to sell their sur­plus land at jantri rates. The gov­ern­ment then de­clared them Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones and the rates went up 10 times. Now we can’t af­ford our own land. So, is this de­vel­op­ment?”

A re­cent sur­vey gave Keshub­hai just one seat, but a close look at the 40-odd seats in Am­reli, Ju­na­gadh and Ra­jkot shows a clear shift in the at­ti­tude of farm­ers as they come out in huge num­bers to the BJP rebel’s meet­ings. “The cadres are with him,” says a VHP in­sider. “they will gal­vanise the farm­ers to vote for Keshub­hai.”

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