The biggest prize of today’s voting is Gujarat, the home state of Narendra Modi, where his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP, भारतीय जनता पार्टी) hopes to win the lion’s share of the state’s 26 seats in the Lok Sabha (लोक सभा), the lower house of India’s parliament.
Modi (pictured above in a ‘selfie’ posted to Twitter after voting earlier today in Ahmedabad) has served as chief minister of Gujarat since 2001, and he’s won three consecutive elections, most recently in December 2012. Much of his campaign revolves around his own stewardship of the Gujarati economy over more than a decade. The promise that Modi, as India’s next prime minister, can bring the ‘Gujarat model,’ with its high level of development, GDP growth and investment, to all of India is an alluring prospect. But it’s questionable that there’s anything like a ‘Gujarat model’ at all — it’s probably more accurate to talk about a ‘Gujarat narrative’ that begins well before Modi took office. While Modi has worked hard to bring investment to his state, and while he may be credited with some of the state’s economic success over the past 13 years, it’s not certain just how he would effect the lessons of Gujarat’s development throughout the rest of India.
But for today’s purposes, the governing Indian National Congress (Congress, भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस), which currently controls 11 of the state’s 26 constituencies, will almost certainly lose many of them. As in so many other states across India, Congress, under the uncertain leadership of Rahul Gandhi, seems destined to mark historical losses. Continue reading India Lok Sabha elections: Phase 7