Through the Lens: Life and Politics in Asia | Politics | South Asia

India Elections 2019: Where Are Farmers in Gujarat’s Growth Model?

Those in rural areas complain they have been left behind during Gujarat’s era of growth.

By Vishal Arora and Dev Desai for

Gujarat is seen by many as one of the most business-friendly states in India. However, social activists say only cities are beneficiaries of this western state’s largely quantitative growth model.

More than 57 percent of Gujarat’s over 60 million people live in rural areas. These areas have been experiencing major water crises, as the government gives priority to supplying water to cities and industries over sending it to rural areas for irrigation, says activist Anand Mazgaonkar. Local farmers confirmed that in this video, the second in the StoriesAsia election coverage series (see the first here).

Candidates from the governing (in this state as well as at the federal level) Bharatiya Janata Party have thus far hardly addressed the lack of access to water in their election campaigns for the general elections, which will begin on April 11. Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes from Gujarat and served as the chief minister of the state from 2001 to 2014.