Home » Politics » Congress » When do voters of Gujarat change the govt they elected:Part two

When do voters of Gujarat change the govt they elected:Part two

By Japan K Pathak

Ahmedabad, 11 December 2012

This is the ninth article of JP’s ‘Gujarat Election 2012′ series on DeshGujarat. In this series, the first article was about the possible election schedule, the second article made the point that Gujarat elections in 2012 are incomparable with Gujarat assembly elections of the past. The third article was about abolished seats. The fourth article was about newly added seats. The fifth article was about changes in the reserved seats for SC/STs and its impacts over political career of RC Faldu, Nitin Patel, Pradipsinh Jadeja and others. In the sixth article I shared the final delimitation order with some historical background. In seventh article I talked about the results of 2009 Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat perspective. In 8th article I talked about an interesting pattern, the voters of Gujarat follow, in ninth article in this series you read ‘When do voters of Gujarat change the government they elected‘, now here is the tenth article of this series.

In last article we observed that the voters of Gujarat change the government they elected in the last election only when the government commits big blunders. The people in such cases don’t wait for even the election, but come out in the streets to remove the government. They otherwise are inclined towards political stability.

While the last article narrated the example of Anamat blunder of Congress government in 1980s, this article is about Navnirman during Chimanbhai Patel government in 1970s.

104 persons were dead, 310 injured, 1450 firings were registered during the 73-day-long Nav Nirman andolan in early 1970s. The andolan had single agenda of removal of then Congress government led by Chief Minister Chimanbhai Patel.

After Chimabhai came to power, the state witnessed three years of drought (1972-74). Navnirman agitation started against hike in food bill in Morbi engineering college in December 1973, but later enlarged to state level with issues like price rise, shortage of grains, naked corruption, politics of manipulation in hand.

Navnirman turmoil went worst in January 1974 when incidences of firing, curfew, arson, loot were witnessed in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Modasa, Visnagar, Surat, Saurashtra and other parts. By the end of the month 43 cities were under curfew. Army was called to control the situation.

As many as 405 Navnirman samitis were formed across the state. By the end of January 1974, 44 were killed in firing. Gujarat bandh call was given on 25 January, and it was successful in all 16 districts.

The agitation initially started by students was later joined by doctors, lawyers, intellectual class, teachers and almost all middle class people.

It is open secret that a section of Congress party was sympathetic to Navnirman Andolan.

On 13 January, 23 Congress MLAs sought exit of Chimanbhai Patel. Ratubhai Adani went to Delhi with signatures of 38 MLAs.Four ministers of Chimanbhai – Amul Desai, Divyakant Nanavati, Amarsinh Chaudhary and Navinchandra Ravani presented 15-point charge-sheet and asked Chimanbhai to step down within 48 hours on 7 February. Chimanbhai expelled them from ministry. On 8 February, government employees announced a strike call from 11th.

On 9 February Chimanbhai held a press conference and resigned.

Though Chimanbhai resigned, the assembly was declared just suspended and not dissolved, and therefore people continued the agitation demanding total dissolution of the existing assembly. Large groups of agitators started visiting every Congress MLA’s house to demand resignations. This phase of agitation started from 9 February and resulted into resignations of 95 MLAs before the end of February. But centre was still adamant to accept the demand of dissolution of Gujarat assembly.

Army was called to control the situation on 26 February. Morarjibhai Desai sat on indefinite fast on 12 March in Amdavad’s Gujarat Vidyapith demanding end of violence in Gujarat and dissolution of assembly.

The centre declared dissolution of assembly on 15 March. Morarjibhai concluded his fast.

The there was a President’s rule which was again unpopular.

On 6 March 1975 Morarji Desai walked to Rajbhavan in Amdavad to submitted a memorandum with 5.5 lakh signatures to Governor demanding immediate announcement of elections. On 3 April, Sauarashtra-Kutch Sanstha Congress rally also marched to Governor with samd demand.

On 7 April Morarjibhai sat on fast at his Delhi resident demanding end of President’s rule. This attracted countrywide attention, and finally on 13 April Indira announced Gujarat assembly elections in June.

In the elections, Janata Morcho(a front against Congress) won 86 seats, while Congress won 75 seats, Chimanbhai Patel’s Kisan Majdoor Lok Paksh(Kimlop) won 12 seats while independents won 8 seats in 181-member assembly house. Congress could win 75 seats because as we said in this article above, one faction of Congress party was sympathetic to Navnirman. Then it was very well known to public that Indira Gandhi was not pro-Chimanbhai Patel. The Navnirman andolan was largely against Chimanbhai Patel, and as Chimanbhai was no more with Congress, the party could save itself from larger loss. But then losing the government in election was not a small loss.

The point I wanted to make in these couple of articles was that, until and unless a Chief Minister commits too big blunder, messes up with people in worst way, governs very very poorly, people of Gujarat may not shift political loyalty.

I wrote an article earlier observing that there’s no alternate leader matching to the stature of Modi in Gujarat in this elections. But this is not the only point going in his favor. The other major factor is that Modi has not messed up with the people, he may have committed mistakes, but not intentionally, and he has certainly not committed big blunders. If Congress has no one matching to the stature of Modi, Congress can wait for Modi to commit a big blunder – Big B we can say. This will be a situation where Modi himself will put his stature down. Yes, Congress will have to wait for Big B of Modi. For last one-year Congress is building perception against Modi, but even while doing so Congress has not been successful in pointing out any big blunder of Modi govt.

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  1. Amit Karia says:

    I think big challange for INC is not to win Gujarat but to some how restrict Modi ji from winning less than 117 seats, if BJP wins more than 117 that would mean easy route for Modi towards delhi. Interesting thing about this election Japan bhai is . Modi has taken campaign upon himself. i do not know RSS and VHP role in this election.

    One more thing this is three party side(BJP,INC and GPP) Tallest leader from all parties (Modi,Vaghela and Keshubapa) are all from RSS background just shows much much Congress is struggeling for identity and ideology, and when that hepppens chances or winning election is minimal

    Would be interesting to to see seats projections article from you or neerav

  2. accept or reject ! says:

    Very well observed.Keep doing this regularly.
    Thank you !

  3. RKM says:

    Let me tell you more in detail what happened inside the discussions during Navnirman.

    Chimanbhai’s dream was project of Sardar Sarovar Dam. He had to convince Chief Minister’s of 3 states and also had to get permission from Minister of Water Resources and finally from the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Chimanbhai had such a command on his ortarship and leadership that he convinced all 3 states chief ministers and agreed to major demands from this states. Later even Minister of Water Resource in Union Govt. agreed to the project followed by Indira Gandhi.

    Every thing was set and ready to go. There goes a call from group of people led by Ghanshyam Oza to Indira Gandhi telling her that she should worry about her position as a state Chief Minister who has power of convincing CM’s of 3 state might take away her position very soon. Feeling insecured, just couple of days before the inauguration of Sardar Sarovar Dam, while Chimanbhai and his MLA’s were celebrating the success, there comes a call from Indira Gandhi to Chimanbhai saying project is stalled.

    Then Chimanbhai with group of ministers goes to meet Indiraji and ask for the reason which she denies to give. Due to drought for 3 years there was not enough food and water. When Chimanbhai requested for more supplies from Union Government which instead of giving additional supplies they cut down the regular supplies. This led to increase in prices. Internally, Indira Gandhi met Jayprakash Narayan(JP) and asked him to raise agitation against Chimanbhai’s government. And that’s how Navnirman started which took ugly turn and toppled Chimanbhai’s govt.

    Things did not end here. JP took this agitation nationwide such that it rebounded on Indira Gandhi and she had to declare emergency. During Morarjibhai’s government, Indira was willing to leave the country with her family for good but George Fernandez was not willing to let her leave and he wanted that Indira be jailed in India for good. Things didn’t go well and Indiraji was back in power.

    Thank You!

  4. Navneet Rafaliya says:

    Based on this analysis there are very slim chances of Modi going out of power. I like it.

    Jai Hind

  5. vivek iyer says:

    why this sudden apprehension since last 2 days ..hope it is to whip up passions to encourage more people to come out and vote if voting percentage crosses 65 % then Modiji and BJP will get 135 seats

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