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Cocktail that can tempt others

New Delhi, Dec. 23: A mix of Narendra Modi’s personal aura, image as a strong and clean leader and his ability to make the elections a referendum on himself helped the BJP win a thumping majority, political analysts said today.

Perceived development in the state under the Chhota Sardar, more than just polarisation on religion, aided Modi in pulling off the victory, which could make him a “model” for other state governments to follow, some of them said.

“A lot has been said about the communal polarisation. While that definitely helped the BJP, one must remember that he used development as a plank through most of the campaigning. This plank is what has succeeded,” Bharat Waraiavwala, a senior fellow at the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), said.

Waraiavwala had visited Gujarat during the elections. Yesterday, while speaking to The Telegraph, he had predicted that Modi would win “comfortably”, though not as many seats as in 2002.

According to political psychologist and sociologist Ashis Nandy, Modi had managed to convince the ordinary Gujarati that “he and he alone” could provide them security.

“He has a very towering personality compared with the others who were in the fray from either the Congress or the BJP. His speech, his ability to attract crowds, makes him a formidable opponent,” Nandy said.

Modi’s personality apart, it was on “grounds of the fear that is prevalent in Gujarat” that the BJP had won, Nandy said, disagreeing with Waraiavwala.

“The only challenge for Modi was to make this election about himself. Once he managed to do that... with the help of some self goals from the Congress, he was bound to win. One-on-one, there was no one in the Opposition who could take on his personality,” sociologist Ranjan Gupta said.

Waraiavwala stressed on the image of incorruptibility that Modi enjoyed. He recal-led a poster he had seen in Gujarat ó of Modi adorning the centre of a map of the state.

“Six Modi statements lay scattered in various parts of the Gujarat map. The first said: ‘I haven’t pawed at the state exchequer’s money, nor have I let anyone else paw at it’. That, I think, has struck a chord with many people,” Waraiavwala said.

Modi, Nandy said, had created a model ó economically and politically ó that some others in power may want to follow. “But it won’t be easy for other states to follow,” he said.

The victory would help Modi build credentials for a role in the BJP in Delhi, Nandy said. “He will now emerge as a national leader for the party. Perhaps not immediately, but certainly in the long run.”

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