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In post independent India, the state of Gujarat played a crucial role in shaping the national politics. In the 1950s, while Indian National Congress asserted itself at the centre, Hindu traditionalist Congressmen played a major role in the state level. As leaders like K.M. Munshi, one of the popular leaders from the state, joined the Swatantra party as he had criticized the Nehru’s idea of cooperative farming, several other leaders like V.P.Menon , Dahyabhai (sons of eminent Congress leader Sardar Patel) also followed him. Gujarat became one of its strongholds, for this reason and also because of the support of the Patel-dominated Krishikar Lok Paksh. In 1962, the Swatantra party  got 24 per cent of the valid votes in the state. The co-founder of the Swatantra party, M.R. Masani, was elected as MP for Rajkot in 1967 general elections. It is important to note that traditionally the state of Gujarat had been divided into 4 geographical regions that have followed different paths to cultural, political, social heterogeneity that have interplayed with each other at different levels. The four major regions include Gujarat, the region of Saurashtra, Kutch (also spelled as Kachchh) and Eastern Gujarat, which consists of the Adivasi belt. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, as Congress party continued to witness decline by losing its major organizational strength and elections in major states of India, leaders like Moraji Desai played a prominent role. Moraji Desai instrumentally played a key role in as he continued to maintain a close affinity between traditional Congressmen and Sangh Parivar. The differences between Moraji Desai and Indira Gandhi emerged as a major political battle in the state of Gujarat. In run up to 1972 assembly elections in Gujarat, the two major outfits Congress (O) and Congress (R) witnessed an intense political rivalry. The Congress (R) secured 139 out of 168 seats and Congress (O) secured a mere 16. Tannen Neil Lincoln, in an article titled ‘The Political Historiography of Modern Gujarat” emphasize that 1972 assembly elections were considered as a major milestone in Gujarat due to certain factors. Firstly, the older support or social base of the Congress that was predominantly upper caste in nature lost its power quotient in the newly established powerful Congress (R). Second, the numerically dominant caste and other groups in Gujarat began to play a greater role in forming the party’s new social base. This new base comprised the emergent Kshatriya, a combination of higher caste Rajputs and Darbars, as well as Kolis, Baniyas and Bhils that constituted 30% of the population which was numerically significant in the state of Gujarat. The western state also witnessed the rise of KHAM coalition in the electoral politics of Gujarat. The KHAM coalition desperately wanted to target the Kshatriyas (40%), Harijans (7%), Adivasis (14%) and Muslims (8.3%) that constituted 69.3% of the state’s population.This electoral formula also included the backward communities that were included in the Bakshi Commission of Gujarat (1976) and were  later recognized as OBCs. This strategy adopted the central leadership of the Congress party has put an end to the Congress being an upper caste, landlord community party. However, this electoral strategy also had a backlash within the party when upper castes  found themselves to be more acceptable within the spectrum of Sangh Parivar. The BJP’s stake to power in 1995 and its continuous rise by emerging as a major dominant political party in the politics of Gujarat acquired greater prominence. Initially, the party captured the Rajkot municipal corporation and invested its political capital in gaining major urban influence in the state of Gujarat. As we decode the electoral calculus of 1995 assembly elections, Out of the  182 seats the  BJP party contested, it won 122 seats with 42% of the total votes in the state, the party secured 53.2 % votes in the urban areas, followed by 45.9% in the semi-urban areas, and 41.4% and 39.1% votes in the rural and tribal areas respectively. It secured 38% of the vote share among the OBCs. However, the highest vote share for BJP in terms of percentage was among the upper castes (67%) and Jains (50%). The major development witnessed within the fold of BJP’s politics in Gujarat was the rise of Narendra Modi. In fact, he was also the first OBC to become the Chief Minister in the state of Gujarat. After the communal riots that took place in Gujarat immediately after the assumption of chief minister’s office by Narendra Modi, BJP continued to reap electoral benefits due to the polarization of voters and and by adoption of communal and divisive political idiom. The Assembly elections in 2002 and 2007 further strengthened the party base in rural and urban areas of Gujarat. The other notable development that occurred post-2002 under Narendra Modi’s rule was the all important ‘Sadhbhavana Mission’ that was targeted towards the reconciliation of the Muslim community in Gujarat,  A slew of major communities like Patels, upper castes, OBCs increasingly came into the fold of BJP as it expanded its electoral base in the state. As Christopher Jaffrelot mentions that BJP under Narendra Modi has managed to ‘plebeianize’ itself to a considerable extent as his  policies arguably promoted the interests of the urban, upper-caste middle class. 

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