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.
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.