#GujaratPolls: An Interesting Battle On the Cards

Dates for the all important and eagerly awaited Gujarat elections have been announced. The two phase poll will be held on 9 & 14 of December with counting on 18th. Can BJP continue its winning streak and push Congress into permanent hibernation in the state? This question is in everyone’s minds. BJP has been ruling the state for past 20 years which is long enough and only natural to develop some sort of anti-incumbency. Congress has received a jolt with senior leader Shankersinh Vaghela leaving the party just before polls. Many of its MLAs have joined the BJP. Its tallest leader in the state Ahmad Patel just managed to scrape through in Rajya Sabha elections by just 1 vote.

Rains in Ahmedabad and not so great handling of the situation has resulted in social media being agog with ‘Vikas Ganda Thayo Chey’. Its virality has reached significant proportions. BJP govt. has taken a series of steps to pacify Patidars but the agitation continues. OBC leader Alpesh Thakor has joined Congress. Hardik may follow suit. Jignesh Mevani, the Dalit leader has vowed to defeat the BJP. Both Rahul Gandhi & Narendra Modi have held many rallies in the state. PM is seen visiting the state every other day to announce sops. Navsarjan Yatra & Gaurav Yatra have crossed swords. Rahul is gaining good traction as per reports. However, initial opinion polls (CSDS, Axis & VMR) suggest a BJP sweep mainly due to TINA factor.

It is a close battle, with large sections of public – traders, dalits, farmers, patidars unhappy with BJP government. Congress as usual has been slow to react and started campaign pretty late. It should have finalized alliances with the three young turks pretty early. It’s state leadership doesn’t generate the confidence to be able to throw out Rupani and take advantage of simmering discontent. People are unhappy but are they unhappy enough to bring back Congress, which many Hindus believe, will embolden the minorities of the state. Will they vote for Gujarati asmita? Modi is after all a Gujarati chora. Any defeat here would weaken the son of soil Modi at the centre. Many complementing and contradicting factors at play here.

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