Political battle over state models in the air as polls approach

A political tussle over the governance models of different states and parties has hung in the air as the nation prepares for crucial parliamentary elections this year and next, including in Prime Minister’s home state Gujarat. Minister Narendra Modi and Interior Minister Amit Shah.

While the BJP has long sold Modi’s model of Gujarat governance hard in all polls inside and outside the state as well, the AAP has in this election campaign for Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat invoked repeatedly Arvind Kejriwal’s Delhi model of governance shortly after the strategy paid him rich dividends in the recently concluded polls in Punjab where the AAP formed a government.

In Tripura, where polls are due early next year, Trinamool Congress, which lost its stock and blockade barrel to the BJP, I’m working to stage a comeback with Banerjee’s nephew , Abhishek Banerjee, pledging that his party will replicate West Bengal’s model of good governance if elected to power in the North Eastern state. Banerjee argued that Bengal’s model is better than Tripura’s on development parameters.

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In Gujarat, where the mother of all battles will take place this year, Kerjriwal’s AAP has sought to reorient the polls narrative by confronting the BJP on civic, development and education issues rather than confronting the saffron party on Hindutva issues.

Delhi’s deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, has repeatedly drawn attention to the state of schools in the state; they had no desks for students and broken toilets and contrasted with what Kejriwal provided to public schools in Delhi.

Sisodia, the education minister of the Delhi government, who is credited with bringing about reforms in the management of public schools, drew these parallels after visiting two public schools in Bhavnagar, the constituency of the education minister of Delhi. Gujarat, Jitu Vaghani, this month. Sisodia then invited the Gujarat CM to the public schools in Delhi to get a feel for the “PAA governance model”.

Kejriwal has also introduced the Delhi model to Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand but the success has not been the same everywhere. While he managed to wrest power from Congress in Punjab, he sent a courier to stop the BJP’s repeated return to power in the other two states. In UP, he lost deposits on all seats.

AAP highlights the Delhi model even in international forums. AAM leader Atishi in her address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) drew attention to the governance model of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Later, she tweeted “An honor to present the transformation brought to Delhi, by @ArvindKejriwal government, in front of the UN General Assembly. I believe the ‘Delhi model’ can provide insights to solve the problems faced by many countries around the world. Kejriwal said the world is looking to Delhi for solutions in many areas of urban governance.

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The projection of the Delhi model in Punjab has also drawn opposition ire following the ongoing power outage. On Thursday, Balwinder Singh Bhundar, the SAD leader of the attacking AAP government, said: “The Delhi model has electrocuted Punjab.

The decision of the LDF government in Kerala this week to send a two-member high-level official team to Gujarat to study the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Dashboard System for the implementation of the project, has sparked a political row. with Congress and the Muslim League criticizing the decision, who asked if Kerala planned to emulate the “Gujarat model”. An amused BJP said the Kerala CM thought the Gujarat model was the right model and asked them to drop the ‘failed’ Kerala model.

Political analyst Rasheed Kidwai, said: “Models alone will not win elections. Parties must have platforms as well as personalities to win polls in the state. Punjab was a different scenario. There was a strong opposition in power against the Congress and the BJP was not an AAP force being the opposition party was the natural beneficiary of the aspiration for change.Moreover, one model does not necessarily fit the other.In Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan had a different image all along. There are doubts where this transition from soft-spoken Chouhan to bulldozing Mama will yield gains for the BJP.”

BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, where Assembly polls are due next year, has chosen the sure bait of emulating Uttar Pradesh’s Bulldozer Baba (Yogi Adityanath), earning the moniker Bulldozer Mama for Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan after demolition action against suspected rioters in Khargone.

The Trinamool Congress, which is striving to explain Mamata Banerjee as Modi’s only formidable challenger, has in recent months insisted Banerjee’s governance model in West Bengal is the best amid chatter muted on the Odisha governance model of Naveen Patnaik, a state in which the veteran BJD leader has been in power for five terms.

In July, speaking to TMC supporters and opposition leaders from the Constitution Club, Banerejee said categorically, “Bengal is the model not Gujarat.”

Ironically, Congress, the main opposition party, has been reluctant to project the governance model in either of the states it rules, Rajasthan, where Ashok Gehlot is the chief minister, or Chhattisgarh, where Bhupesh Baghel is CM.

Bihar, whose Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had earned the nickname “Sushashan Babu” (Mister Good Governance), has repeatedly come under fire from opposition parties, who are now questioning its governance model while its ally the BJP bolstered the hardline Hindutva campaign eclipsing the Nitish model of governance.

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