February 23, 2018

Assembly election: BJP top guns hit campaign trail in Gujarat poll battle

06 December 2017, 06:01 | Taylor George

Dead heat in Gujarat vote share: Survey

A new opinion poll puts BJP and Congress neck and neck in Gujarat

Phalodi, which is the biggest centre, has estimated 102-104 seats, a deficit of 15 seats over the previous elections while Congress is given 70-72 seats.

Another major agenda to fight back BJP in campaigning was to not let Prime Minister Narendra Modi get away with his soaring rhetoric and claims.

According to the Times Now-VMR opinion survey projects that the BJP could secure around 111 seats in the Gujarat assembly elections whereas, the Congress is likely to get 68 seats, seven more than what they had achieved in the 2012 polls. Following the elections, Congress suffered successive jolts as its MLAs deserted the party from time to time, leaving its total tally in the current Gujarat Assembly to 43 legislators. The ruling party has fielded 58 OBCs while the Congress has 62 such nominees.

The stakes are high for the ruling BJP in Gujarat following the emergence of complex matrices of castes, reservation demands and the neo aggressive persona of principal opposition Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.

Many feel the BJP held sway over Gujarat, particularly after Modi took over the reins of power in the communally sensitive state, owing to the consolidation of Hindu votes in its favour.

According to political analyst Achyut Yagnik, a mere swing of about four to five per cent would prove to be game changer for Congress.

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The only fear or the one sector that the Congress should be anxious about is that its workers are not as dedicated as the BJP cadres. So, if the latest opinion poll is suggesting that Congress is catching up fast with the BJP, don't just discard it because this is seconded by the betting markets in Rajasthan. During the process, the party also realized that Rahul Gandhi was not exactly the person who could strongly counter attack Modi, so it was decided that Gandhi will attack Modi only on social media and the Patidar agitation spearhead, Hardik Patel, who is a fiery orator, will attack the Prime Minister through his rallies and addresses.

He said "the caste factor is still at the core of Gujarat's politics and tickets are also distributed accordingly".

After the recent closely fought battle for local bodies, which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won, top leaders of Uttar Pradesh are now set to lock horns on a different turf, for a different objective - the Gujarat Assembly elections 2017. It has retained its substantial lead in north Gujarat while suffering a slight drop in Saurashtra and Kutch.

The evidence so far seems to suggest that while the going may be tough for the BJP, the party may still scrape through, and form the next government in Gujarat.

Very often opinion polls have gone horribly wrong in India, which is why no one trusts them. This is certainly a bad news for BJP because it was presumed that the Gujarat would be a piece of cake for it. The counting of votes will take place on December 18.

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