Even as the campaign dust settles in Gujarat, the month-long verbal mayhem that was unleashed on the nation deserves everyone’s attention once again. The veneer of decency that marked the beginning of the campaign, soon gave way to the not so robust character of the campaigns, which made, everything from democratic values to morals and ethics of politics, redundant and debatable. Gujarati voter, of course, shall deliver his judgment shortly.
Gujarat is important to both the major players and they would not like to forgo the State. For the ruling BJP, prestige is at stake and they would not wish to be dethroned while Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister while for the Congress, it is all about establishing Rahul Gandhi, its new President-elect, as the face of the Opposition and a win in Gujarat could bring a turnaround to the party’s fortunes. But despite the repeated assurances of Rahul Gandhi that he would not allow demeaning of the PM chair, it was demeaned. In fact, as the curtains were about to come down on the campaign on Tuesday, Alpesh Thakor, struck a new low claiming Modi eats imported Taiwanese mushrooms costing Rs 80,000 per piece every day.
Even if Modi were to eat Mushrooms, what had that got to do with the campaign remains to be answered. It is the most bizarre argument ever heard. That in fact symbolizes the nature of the campaign that it was all about lies and more damning lies. As in the US campaign a year ago, here too an external factor seeped in the form of Pakistan. Now whether Pakistan really campaigned for the Congress brazenly or not could be questioned. But the Congress leadership was caught in a fix in explaining its position over the dinner meeting that Mani Shankar Aiyar hosted a day before he called Modi 'a Neech", in the presence of Dr Manmohan Singh, and former Indian and Pakistani diplomats.
It certainly gave a handle to the BJP to claim Pakistan's interference. Added to this was the reported social media observation of Pakistan's former director general of army that Ahmed Patel should become the Chief Minister. However informal the get-together organised for friends by Aiyar was, it lacked common sense. It was as good as Rahul Gandhi visiting Chinese Ambassador in the midst of Doklam controversy. This seems to be an oddity of Rahul era’s politics. One does not pander to the anti-national sentiments thus and yet try to beat the Modi-Shah duo in its backyard. Quite a dusty campaign it was!