|Man telling his curious friends that he is "looking for vikas"|
The much vaunted ‘Gujarat model of development’, once the poster-child of economists, has “gone crazy”, according to the top trending hashtag on social media. With State elections barely two months away, the ruling BJP is worried.
Over the past two weeks, witty posts, satirical memes, and audio-visual capsules — all with the Gujarati hashtag, ‘vikas gando thayo chhe’ (‘Development has gone crazy’) — have gone viral on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. Mostly shared by youngsters, it has turned into a trending social media campaign that has put the ruling BJP on the defensive.
The campaign began spontaneously after the monsoon rains that left potholes in roads across the State, including in cities such as Ahmedabad, and the government’s claims about smart cities and world class infrastructure took a beating. Soon, people started sharing photographs or video clips of caved-in roads, decrepit State transport buses, roadside garbage dumps, flooded streets, and figures of swine flu-related deaths, all tagged with the catchy ‘vikas’ punch line.
Sensing an opportunity, the Congress party’s social media teams latched on to the campaign. As the phenomenon became a talking point across age groups, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani responded by blaming the Congress. “Those who are saying ‘vikas gando thayo chhe’ have themselves gone crazy,” he said. Recently, party president Amit Shah felt compelled to ask the State’s youth not to “fall prey to anti-BJP social media campaigns.”
However, many BJP leaders admit that they are unable to counter the forceful social media posts on fuel price hikes, high GST rates, and job losses.
“This campaign is a huge success. Even BJP supporters are forwarding these posts,” said Saral Patel, a Congress social media volunteer.
Though the Congress social media team has taken credit, the phrase “Vikas gando thayo chhe” is attributed to 20-year-old Sagar Savalia, a civil engineering student and member of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti which leads the Patidar quota agitation.
“On August 23, I received some photographs of a dilapidated State transport bus. I forwarded them with the line, ‘Stay Away! Vikas has gone crazy in Gujarat’, and it went viral,” Mr. Savalia told The Hindu.
Modi & co will not learn lessons on their own. They must be dumped into garbage. Otherwise they will destroy the nation beyond recognition with their funny adventures. They don't know how to rule a nation democratically. The present 5.7% GDP growth if corrected with low oil regime benefit and fudging economic data with new parameters, the real GDP growth will be less than 2% and massive job losses indicates economic collapse of nation!