Around this time last year, if you had asked a liberal to name the sexiest man alive, it would have been a tough competition between Raghuram Rajan and Hardik Patel. But I believe Hardik would have won the contest. Fancy bullshit king from University of Chicago is one thing … and putting Modi on the defensive in his backyard in Gujarat is quite another.
So as Hardik Patel tore through urban and rural Gujarat distributing caste caps, liberals followed his every beat from his toilet to his bedroom. A liberal woman proudly declared how she shows Hardik’s sex videos to her 12 year old daughter. Instead of getting arrested and widely censured, her insane rant was published in the Outlook magazine.
Here is the nonsense that came out in The Hindu.
Without even clicking the article, I can tell you that it has been written by a well known fool by the name of Mahesh Langa.
Then the elections happened. And while the anti-incumbency and droughts did bite the BJP quite a bit in rural Gujarat, the party’s Hinduised, urban base held strong. This is the good karma that comes from real development. Having turned Gujarat into one of India’s most urbanized states, there are some 60 seats where the BJP simply cannot lose. With the majority mark at 91, this makes the BJP essentially invincible in Gujarat. Even the final tally of 99-80 in seats is a distortion of the big lead in vote share. Which means that with every successive delimitation of constituencies, the state of Gujarat will slip farther and farther out of Congress’ grasp.
The BJP swept through Surat, which was supposed to be Hardik’s stronghold. As I like to say, urban Gujarat is like the BJP’s family. Despite the teething troubles with GST, urban Gujarat did not abandon its own.
Much less for a casteist joker like Hardik Patel. After the election, the media mostly forgot Alphesh and mostly Hardik as well. After all, his much hyped “Patidar anger plank” had proved to be the biggest flop of the election. Of the HAJ trio (Hardik , Alpesh, Jignesh), only Jignesh continued to be in the spotlight due to his overtly Hindu, urban Naxal cum JNU style of doing politics.
No wonder Hardik wanted to resurrect his career. The first thing he did was send a strong message of not joining Congress. Even he could see that being a Congi is practically a taint in Gujarat, a curse word.
Then he went back to his fundamentals. A “fast unto death” undertaken for reservation and farm loan waivers.
The Gujarat government which had been totally screwed over in 2015 seems to have learned its lesson this time. In 2015, with Modi still fresh as Prime Minister, the Gujarat government had come down on his “movement” like a ton of bricks. It ended up creating a genuine headache for the party. And let’s admit it: there was arrogance too … with Narendrabhai as PM, Amit Shah running BJP and Anandiben (a Patidar herself) as CM of Gujarat … the BJP thought it had the license to get away with anything. Especially on an issue of “Patidar pride.”
Unfortunately for BJP, nothing is “impossible” when it comes to politics.
This time, the BJP had the right approach … one of benign neglect, even slightly indulgent towards Hardik … giving him a long rope, until he exposes himself.
When Hardik began his fast, my biggest worry was that it would encourage elements within the BJP itself … possibly even you know who … to try and unsettle Vijay Rupani. After all, he had made his unhappiness clear on several forums immediately after Gujarat results until a phone call from Amit Shah himself put a lid on the matter. And if you ask me, I sort of agree with him. Rupani did not treat the man fairly. He has been treated worse than a tall leader, a lifetime RSS/BJP worker, should have been. That’s why I will not take his name.
But that did not happen. The party’s discipline held very firm. Meanwhile, Hardik went on a dance that made most people laugh.
I believe that somewhere around the 9th day of his “fast”, Hardik even wrote a will. This is also the time there were reports everywhere that Hardik was actually gaining weight as his fast progressed. Then, came the “official” announcement from Hardik’s aides that he had “lost 20 kilos.” Hmmm… okay. And after that, Hardik refused to allow himself to be weighed.
You decide what was going on. I leave it to your imagination.
There were no crowds. And for some reason, even opposition leaders did not show much interest except from some “communications” from Akhilesh Yadav etc. I don’t know how many took out the time to go and actually meet him. I think they sent letters of sympathy typed out by some secretary. The only people who actually went to see Hardik Patel were traveling beggars like Yashwant and Shatrughan.
Speaking of traveling beggars, did Yogendra Yadav go? Does anybody know?
I believe that somewhere around the 12th day of the “fast”, Hardik was moved to hospital. Around the 19th day (if my memory is correct), Hardik ended his fast at the “plea of Patidar leaders.”
And thus the circus came to an end. Full marks to CM Vijay Rupani for treating Hardik like a petulant child … letting him scream and throw a tantrum in the department store … until he runs out of breath, realizes that no one else cares and packs up and leaves.
I must point out here that there is a difference between how one should handle urban Naxals and how to handle Hardik Patel.
With the JNU Naxals, the government should use a heavy hand. First of all, for national security reasons. Secondly, these JNU Naxals are the most unpopular people in India … you tackle them harshly and they will scream … and because people hate these urban Naxals so damn much, their wailing will only increase BJP votes.
Things are not quite the same when it comes to handling caste leaders. Sadly, caste is still HUGE in India. Complaining about it is of no use. It’s a reality around which one has to do politics. A Fadnavis like finesse is needed for handling such situations, not an Anandiben style imperiousness. Last time the BJP screwed up badly with Hardik Patel, but I am glad the lessons have been learned.