Dalit leader and Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani is “baffled” by the poll results, as Hindutva trumped the agrarian crisis and unemployment, and even his core supporter base, the Dalits, seems to have voted for the BJP. “I can’t understand. Dalits had no reason to vote for BJP this time,” Mevani said. “They didn’t get jobs, there is a terrible agrarian crisis, price hike is there…The victory is baffling.”
Admitting to reading the pulse of the people wrong, Mevani said he thought these issues would “create a lot of trouble for Modi”, but “the culture of Hindutva has prevailed”. He said “what Modi has done in the last five years was good enough to wipe him out”, but it was “collective insanity” that it did not happen.
Still in disbelief, Mevani said, “I have no option but to accept it (the result) even when I am not convinced at all.” However, he said it was important to “introspect and struggle more on ground zero” and that “this country needs a genuine alternative platform in politics”
Looking back, he added, “More credible opposition…more creative, more proactive opposition which could set the people’s agenda.”
Asked whether Congress leader Alpesh Thakor’s rebellion cost the opposition party in Gujarat, Mevani said, “Yes. It could have partly impacted in Patan.”
Asked if he should have concentrated on campaigning in Vadgam, than going to Begusarai to support CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar or Delhi to back AAP candidate Atishi, he said, “No, because Vadgam falls under Patan Lok Sabha constituency, a safe Congress seat . Dalits, were not going to vote for BJP…So, my goal was to go to other places and campaign for good candidates.”
Perhaps one of the biggest upsets among those was Kanhaiya Kumar’s. “I can’t understand how come that happened. He was the one in whose favour there was a clear wave,” said Mevani. “And people were mad after him…His defeat is very unfortunate.”
He added: “People like Sadhvi Pragya Singh are winning and promising youth like Kanhaiya are losing. This is a very sorry state of affairs for the nation.” Asked what next for him, he said, “My focus will be in three directions; Vadgam from where I have won, Dalit-Muslim unity and a nationwide campaign on public health, education and unemployment.”