Narendra Modi will have to create avenues for investment in large-scale manufacturing

Dec 12 2013, 13:47 IST
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SummaryArvind Panagariya has been one of the strongest votaries of the Gujarat model of development

the ideal platform for Narendra Modi with youth voters—urban middle-class people—and the use of social media. Do you think this is a setback for Modi in that sense?

This is where Delhi media has missed the big story. The real big story is the Modi wave which has translated in a big victory for the BJP in Rajasthan and third successive win in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

So, what is the message coming out of these assembly polls for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections?

Clearly, after these election results, the prospects of a BJP government appear a lot better. Earlier even the high-end estimates were giving the BJP no more than 180 seats in 2014. But these results place the BJP within striking distance of about 220 seats.

This would put them in a comfortable position…

Yes, with 220 seats plus other allies getting another 20-25 seats, Modi may be in a position to form a stable government. Once the BJP and allies have 240 or more seats, the chances of others joining them improve dramatically. You just need to look at the reactions of the Congress allies like Sharad Pawar to the recent drubbing of the Congress.

But across the board, even within the BJP, people have been reluctant to call it a Modi wave?

Whatever you call it, wave or effect, there is a large shift of the electorate towards Modi. He seems to fascinate people in a way we have not seen politicians fascinate the electorate in a long time. People show up in vast numbers to listen to him at the rallies. Whereas a wit recently remarked that attending Rahul Gandhi rallies should qualify as MGNREGA employment, it is people who are paying to attend Modi rallies. Even in Tamil Nadu, where the BJP has zero presence, he had a huge rally. Of course, attendance at the rallies need not always translate into votes. But the overwhelming victories in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh testify to a substantial Modi contribution even after we take into account the anti-Congress sentiment in Rajasthan and the good work of Shivraj Singh Chauhan in Madhya Pradesh.

For the Congress, whatever it has done—be it the MGNREGA or the Food Security Act or the Land Acquisition Act to catch voters’ attention—has not helped. Isn’t it?

Yes, that seems to be the message. Rajasthan had been seen as one of the most successful states in the implementation of the MGNREGA. So, if

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