2012 Gujarat seems to have voted clearly - this way or that - rejecting a third force and accepting the development plank. The verdict showed that Gujaratis were ready to take the inclusive growth story forward, and they did not mind taking along brave leaders like Keshubhai Patel. Chief minister Narendra Modi development model and Gujarati asmita seemed to have sold hugely well, clearing the way for the 2014 battle, with Modi as the BJP's PM candidate.
Over all, Gujarat had voted hugely for the personality cult, be it Narendra Modi, Keshubhai Patel, Shankersinh Vaghela, NCP's Kandhal Jadeja, (son of late Godmother Santokben Jadeja) or Purshottam Solanki who has been accused of a Rs 400 crore fisheries scam.
However, an interesting aspect emerging in the forthcoming Gujarat assembly is the decimation of the Congress' state leadership but overall acceptance of the party. State Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia, legislature party leader Shaktisinh Gohil and even Siddharth Patel were losing badly to the BJP. Though Shankersinh Vaghela leads with a low margin, the state assembly's opposition is beginning to look 'RSS powered'.
For Modi, just crossing the 117 mark is a victory that will make him chief minister a third time, but all is not lost for the Congress which had a seat sharing alliance with NCP on 7 seats and did not put up a candidate against Keshubhai Patel in Visavadar. So, in all the Congress was leading on 58 of 174 seats where it put up candidates. In 2007 NCP had won three seats of 10 that they had fielded as part of the pre-poll alliance with the Congress.
Trends show that Gujaratis voted heavily for Narendra Modi's development model, but did not reject the Congress's dream home altogether.
The defeat of Kanubhai Kalsaria is a case in point. As a BJP MLA-turned-activist, he led a successful movement against the Nirma cement plant in Mahuva taluka of Bhavnagar but lost at the electoral post. His outfit, Sadbhavana Manch had set up five candidates on the coastline constituencies. A vindication of the development model is