Mis­sion Gujarat

The Hindu - - EDITORIAL - Chen­nai Se­cun­der­abad Ben­galuru Sa­gar, Mad­hya Pradesh Chen­nai

It may be true that Congress vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi has come into his own since his Berke­ley speech and has en­hanced his party’s elec­toral prospects in Gujarat, but ‘Gu­jarati pride’ is in­vested more in Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and his im­age as a leader than in Mr. Gandhi’s (“Game on in Gujarat”, Novem­ber 14). Anti-in­cum­bency against the BJP might at best trans­late into more seats for the Congress, but that alone will not en­sure a Congress vic­tory at the hustings. It is un­clear how strong the three young ‘dis­rup­tors’, Hardik Pa­tel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Me­wani, are go­ing to be. Their caste equa­tions may floun­der in the face of Hindu con­sol­i­da­tion by BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah. Mr. Gandhi’s care­fully cul­ti­vated im­age of soft Hin­dutva, through his vis­its to pop­u­lar tem­ples, may not cut much ice with vot­ers. Mr. Modi’s com­mit­ment to de­vel­op­ment can be seen in quite a few con­crete ex­am­ples of de­vel­op­ment as against the lack of trans­parency in ticket dis­tri­bu­tion in the Congress party. The BJP’s dom­i­na­tion of ur­ban and semi-ur­ban ar­eas, Mr. Shah’s skills in booth man­age­ment and Mr. Modi’s high-volt­age elec­toral cam­paign in the dis­tricts and road shows in the ma­jor ci­ties will surely tilt the scales in the BJP’s favour. Kan­gayam R. Narasimhan,

The As­sem­bly elec­tions in Gujarat will un­doubt­edly test whether Mr. Modi re­tains his hold over the elec­torate, and in his home State, or whether the Congress’s Mr. Gandhi be­gins his slow and tor­tu­ous po­lit­i­cal climb af­ter the de­ba­cle in 2014 and a se­ries of losses there­after. Gujarat 2017 will be a far more closely con­tested elec­tion than be­fore. If the BJP man­ages to re­tain Gujarat, it is bound to be seen as an en­dorse­ment of de­ci­sions such as the GST, which will also help si­lence crit­ics both within and out­side the party. It will also help the party punc­ture the mo­men­tum that the Op­po­si­tion has been at­tain­ing.

One waits to see whether the hugely un­pop­u­lar GST, es­pe­cially among small busi­ness­men and traders, de­mon­eti­sa­tion, and the fail­ure to cre­ate ma­jor “po­lar­i­sa­tion” have the po­ten­tial to de­rail the BJP.

P. Ari­hanth,

The very fact that Mr. Modi has de­cided to set aside his oner­ous re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and tour 32 dis­tricts in­di­cates that the BJP has re­alised that the ground is slip­ping from un­der its feet (“Modi to take charge of Gujarat BJP cam­paign blitz”, Novem­ber 14). Pre-poll sur­veys might still pre­dict a com­fort­able win for the BJP but the ground re­al­i­ties this time around are a tad dif­fer­ent. The Fi­nance Min­is­ter might be gloat­ing over the suc­cess of ini­tia­tives such as de­mon­eti­sa­tion and the GST but the fact re­mains that these mea­sures have hurt the man on the street. The morale-boost­ing vic­tory for the Congress in the Chithrakoot As­sem­bly elec­tion in Mad­hya Pradesh should be the trig­ger for the Congress to do well.

C.V. Aravind, should be dealt with by the re­spec­tive gov­ern­ments (“SC terms Delhi smog life-threat­en­ing”, Novem­ber 14). They need to find the root causes be­hind the fail­ure to find and use al­ter­na­tives to this prac­tice.They need to cre­ate ex­ten­sive aware­ness pro­grammes. Pro­vid­ing sub­si­dies for buy­ing ma­chin­ery to farm­ers would solve the gross prob­lem of a lack of cap­i­tal. Look­ing at the is­sue through a farmer’s per­spec­tive and solv­ing the is­sue will help tackle the prob­lem. With agri­cul­ture be­ing the prime mov­ing force in In­dia, the peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with it should be dealt with ac­cord­ingly. Sophia Sid­diqui,

Here are some sug­ges­tions that the Delhi gov­ern­ment can im­ple­ment to try to fix the air pol­lu­tion prob­lem. Stop trucks from ply­ing within city lim­its for about 12 hours. Ve­hi­cles us­ing a fuel mix­ture of kerosene and diesel should be im­pounded and fined. All con­struc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties within city lim­its should be done with drap­ing — this is done ev­ery­where else in the world. The fre­quency of metro trains must be in­creased so that more peo­ple use pub­lic trans­port. There should be a ban on fire­crack­ers. Move brick kilns out of Delhi. As the smog is chok­ing Delhiites, we need to take some cue from coun­tries where mech­a­nisms are in place to spread in­for­ma­tion. In China, there are sirens that alert the pub­lic when the air qual­ity drops. The cam­paign against the air pol­lu­tion in the cap­i­tal needs the par­tic­i­pa­tion of all in­sti­tu­tions.

R. Sivakumar,

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