The king of the virtual political world he is, but that is not the only explanation for Narendra Modi’s apparent supremacy in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. There are other reasons – often surprising – that have propelled him close to the winning line.
Here are six factors helping Modi, some of which I only discovered during the course of my current tour of a few areas in Uttar Pradesh.
1. The voice of the labour force
Hundreds of workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar work in the factories of Gujarat. They work eight hours a day – overtime on occasion – and live mostly ten to a room. A worker from Sultanpur who did a stint in Surat says he loved the Gujarat Model.
He understood the Gujarat Model as one where power cuts of even ten minutes in villages made news, unlike his home state Uttar Pradesh where no electricity half a day is considered normal.
He said the Gujarat Model is one where he earned Rs 6500 a month as a loader, three times what he would have made for the same work in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar.
He said the Gujarat Model is one where a landlord could live comfortably by rent alone. He said his landlord leased five rooms – ten workers to a room – at Rs 1000 a month per worker. He made Rs 50,000 from 50 workers while each of the workers earned Rs 6500 each.
The workers spent Rs 1000 on them and sent Rs 4000 or more home every month. Many workers speak highly of Gujarat in everyday conversations with family in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. This is why a significant section of the labour force is able to connect with Modi’s Gujarat Model.
They want it all over India and are voting Modi this time. This word of mouth message is powerful and beyond religion and caste. Many Yadavs who work in Gujarat, for instance, are not voting the Samajwadi Party. They talk of development and identify it with Modi.
Image: Narendra Modi shows his inked finger after casting his vote in Ahmedabad.
Text: Sify News Desk
Images: Press Trust of India