ibusinesslines.com March 20, 2018

Close BJP-Cong fight likely in 1st phase of Gujarat polls

06 December 2017, 06:02 | Erica Roy

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and State BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey being garlanded during a party rally in Aligarh

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath

On the other hand, the Congress, who is said to be giving the BJP sleepless nights, was expected to win 63-73 to seats.

Almost all aspects of the poll show that the BJP has every cause to be anxious in Gujarat - something that seems closer to reality considering that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah's campaign rallies in their home state have now been marked not by massive crowds but by a huge number of empty chairs. 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 BJP has nominated 50 Patidars this time, while the Congress has fielded 41 candidates from the community. The grand old party won 49 of these assembly seats and polled 42.1% votes in these rural constituencies, while BJP ended up winning 44 seats with 42.9% votes.

The vote percentage as per the opinion poll is - BJP: 45% votes, Congress: 40% votes, "others": 15% votes.

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

From the very beginning of the election campaigning in Gujarat, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who is personally leading the campaigns, was seen visiting the temples and wearing a tilak on his forehead in all this addresses and rallies.

Across most of Gujarat, the Congress leads in the villages and the BJP in the cities.

The survey opined that economic hardships faced by the voters is a major reason behind the Congress' rise and also a major reason for the Patidars' support to the Congress besides Hardik Patel's call to defeat the BJP over their unmet demand for reservation.

In Shekhawati betting market, the situation for BJP appears to be worse as only 99-101 seats are predicted and the Congress is expected to get 82-85.

The BJP, however, is dismissive of the Congress's optimism, insisting it would come out with flying colours on the strength of the performance of its successive governments.

The emergence of caste leaders on Gujarat's political firmament may somewhat dent the the Hindu support base of the saffron party.

While Thakor has already joined the Congress, Patel and Mevani moved closer to the opposition party and appealed to their respective communities not to vote for the BJP. This went clearly in the favour of Congress.

In how many phases will the Gujarat elections be conducted in? "The series of CSDS polls are as wide off the mark in Gujarat as they were in Uttar Pradesh", BJP Spokesman G.V.L. Narasimha Rao told IANS.

Some reports suggest that farmer discontent in Gujarat is high and poses a threat to the BJP.

Gujarat elections will happen between 9 Dec 2017 and 14 Dec 2017 and the result will be out by 18th December. The counting of votes will take place on December 18.

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