ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gujarat Operation and the Bharatiya Janata Party

The impending election to three Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat has laid bare the Bharatiya Janata Party’s strategy to use each opportunity to win electoral battles at every level and, at the same time, demolish the opposition.

This article was earlier published in the Web Exclusives section of the EPW website.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) strategy to spirit away heavy hitters from the Congress party and regional parties who are endowed with a significant social base is not new. In 1998, current home minister Rajnath Singh, who was at the helm of the Uttar Pradesh BJP, conceived and executed Operation Shakti (Operation Might) that saw the splintering of the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) into independent entities, and propped up a minority BJP government in Lucknow (Ramakrishnan 1997). In 2009, the BJP launched Operation Kamala (Operation Lotus) in Karnataka to entice elected representatives of other parties from every tier of governance, including panchayats, in an attempt to spread itself even before properly finding its feet (Shastri 2010). Both the experiments fetched mixed results in the ensuing elections.

Lately, Gujarat has dominated the news because BJP president Amit Shah, backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has resolved to defeat Ahmed Patel, the right-hand man of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her political secretary for years, in the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled to be held on 8 August 2017. Patel’s tenure ends next month. In the normal order of politics, his re-election was a given because the Congress has enough votes in the legislature to see him through. Three seats from Gujarat to the Rajya Sabha have fallen vacant out of the total number of 10 seats from other states.

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Updated On : 4th Aug, 2017
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