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 Monday, 23 December, 2002, 10:15 GMT
Gujarat election: What will BJP victory mean?
Narendra Modi
Three people have been killed in disturbances in the Indian state of Gujarat following the election victory of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Two BJP workers died during a celebratory parade in the western town of Rajkot, while a member of the opposition Congress Party was killed in Baroda in the east.

In last week's election, the BJP increased its majority in the 182-seat Gujarat assembly by winning 126 seats.

The Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee congratulated the BJP Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the party's victory.

However, opponents have accused Mr Modi of capitalising on widespread communal violence in the state earlier this year.

What will the BJP victory mean for Gujarat? Can anything be done to end the violence in the state?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

I consider BJP's victory in Gujarat as being an outcome of a completely tranparent and democratic procedure, and is therefore unquestionable on account of the validity of the mandate. I consider that the issue to be discussed is only the outcome(as the BBC has suggested) and not is it correct for any party to win or not. How can we question the sanity, ideology of the majority of Gujaratis? And it is a fact that precursors to the elections were not healthy, but it was from both the sides. The Central Government and other states governed by BJP have only negated their much hyped communal agenda, and so it is saner and logical to consider what happened as a result to the Godhra massacre, both indeed condemnable.
Kshitiz, India

The BJP will destroy all that India has achieved so far

A Rajan, USA
For all those readers who think this is a victory for India at large, I have this to say wake up. The BJP's landslide victory in Gujarat followed a campaign of hate. I cannot think of another place on this globe (except Zimbabwe) where an election was fought on such communal lines. Even communist China commands more respect (when was the last time you heard of a state sponsored ethnic program). Hindutva as preached by the BJP and that Parivar is such nonsense that in today's modern world it is an anachronism. Heavens help India if this is what happens on the national scene as well. The BJP will destroy all that India has achieved so far.
A Rajan, USA

The time has come for Indian Muslims to decide whether they want to live under the same law as other Indians do, or whether they would like to cling on to Sharia. Religion based laws like Sharia have no place in a secular republic like India. The existence of different laws for different group of Indians raise barriers among them. In essence the Muslims have to decide if they want to be Indian first or Muslim first.
Kallol Chatterjee, India

It will mean big time trouble for everybody in Gujarat!! It will be the same trouble all over again.
Ricky Rajput, USA

The people of Gujarat have voted against incessant demonising of Modi and Gujaratis by the media and failure of the opposition to see this. The opposition was up to its old tricks of vote bank politics based on minorities and caste which is evidently losing its power as the majority have seen through the game. BJP was seen as more honest if a bit unfair and it has rightly won.
Vinod Dawda, UK

This election finally brings forth the views of the community

Ajai Vasudevan, USA/India
For a long time we have waited for a singular Hindu view to emerge. This election finally brings forth the views of the community. Hindus have always been a tolerant bunch, it is about time they woke up and identified that they will not continue to play into the hands of communal forces or the congress. All people should live in peace but it is about time the Hindu voice is heard as well. Hopefully this election will wake Hindus all over the country and they will finally smell the coffee.
Ajai Vasudevan, USA/India

I believe strongly that the BJP victory will mean stability and prosperity in Gujarat, provided that the Gujarati Muslims, most of whom are very nice people, do not resort to mass killings, like they did on Feb 28th. The BJP's economic policies and Gujarati entrepreneurship have made Gujarat a very prosperous state compared with the rest of India, and now that a government is in place that most oversees Gujaratis prefer (BJP), the investment into Gujarat is likely to be revived.
Raju Patel, UK

The people of Gujarat have decided. What's the difference! Political opponents will have to decided whether they prefer peace or bloodshed. What a strange country India is!
Chandran Sukumaran, Malaysia

India is still secular, and a far more tolerant country than any of its neighbours

Rashid Ali, Canada
Whatever the criticisms of Modi, his victory is but one in a democratic system where there are always winners and losers. India is still secular, and a far more tolerant country than any of its neighbours, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, which have institutionalised discrimination against religious minorities in a way that India has never done and never will do.
Rashid Ali, Canada

The way BJP using religion to divert attention of masses from their poor governance will eventually lead to large scale civil war between Hindus and Muslims all over India. The people of Gujarat has given in to the foul play of communal politics and will soon realize that they have made a severe mistake.
Shaikh Javed Hussain, India

I think Modi has been treated unfairly by the opposition parties and by the sensationalist reporting by the Indian media in handling the Godhra affair. Even so, Gujaratis have proved that they know what the truth is and Modi is a spectacular leader given the handicaps created by the opposition parties and media.
Govind, UK

I only hope Mr Modi will not waste this golden opportunity to make Gujarat the best state in India again

Raghu, Germany
All these years BJP was blaming the other NDA partners for the poor show at the centre. Now they have a 2/3 majority in Gujarat, it is a good chance for them to prove themselves. If they really do well, every Indian would support their victory march to New Delhi. On the other hand, this mandate could be too big a burden for them in the months to come. I only hope Mr Modi will not waste this golden opportunity to make Gujarat the best state in India again!
Raghu, Germany

This victory for BJP, even though a sad event, should be a wake up call to the so called secular parties that they cannot take the majority community for granted.
Praveen PG, India

It is a win for Gujaratis who love peace and reflects the state's anger towards a slender campaign unleashed by anti-national elements.
Harish, UK

Much of the bloodshed and carnage in the state is politically motivated

Jayant, India
Much of the bloodshed and carnage in the state is politically motivated. Politicians exploit the common man for their own agenda and the common man is swayed by the religious leaders who side one party or the other. What needs to be done, not in Gujarat alone, but the entire country is to distance politics from religion, and reform the political system making parties and leaders accountable for their actions. Politicians with criminal backgrounds should be barred from ever contesting in elections.
Jayant, India

Hindus have been exploited for centuries and it is still continuing in every day life in the form of shadow secularism preached by Congress and Communist parties in India. It is time to stand up and make India a Hindu country although people of other religions should be left in peace.
Jnana, USA

The people of Gujarat have decided! The BJP victory means the people of India have started rejecting pseudo-secular parties. Violence in Gujarat can only be ended when the minority community sets its priorities right.
Rajendra, UK

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