For Gujaratis, result is a foregone conclusion

For Gujaratis, result is a foregone conclusion

For Gujaratis, result is a foregone conclusion

If development and corruption are an issue for voters across the country, in Gujarat the election is being fought on an emotional pitch.

After decades, the state will vote for a Gujarati prime ministerial candidate.

So while the BJP’s `PM-in-waiting’ Narendra Modi is harping on good governance and development in his rallies across the country, back in Gujarat his party’s only issue is Modi or “NaMo for PM.”

Gujarat has traditionally seen two-way contests and this election is no exception. While the BJP and the Congress candidates are facing each other in 25 out of the 26 constituencies, in one seat in Porbandar, the NCP is contesting against the BJP.

“Gujarat has been a traditional two-party system and the voters have always vehemently rejected any third force,’’ said political commentator Vishnu Pandya.

He said even as the Aam Aadmi Party has put up candidates in several constituencies, though it might not be able to put up any fight against the candidates of the mainstream parties. 

“After Morarjibhai Desai (India’s fifth PM), it’s for the first time that a person from Gujarat has the chance to be the prime minister and there is a lot of excitement among the six crore Gujaratis regarding this,” said Vijay Rupani, state BJP spokesperson.

He said this was the reason that the BJP workers were talking about development which is now synonymous with Modi.

“There is a lot of anger among the people against the Congress which is a sinking ship. In the last couple of months as many as seven MLAs have left Congress to
join us. A lot of party workers at the grassroots level have also crossed over from Congress and joined the BJP. We are looking at winning all the 26 seats,” he added.

While Rupani continues to be confident of a clean sweep, state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi maintains, ``Congress might have been out of power in the state for the last three terms but the results of the Lok Sabha have always been different and people have voted for Congress candidates in LS polls.’’

The Congress maintains that people of Gujarat would not vote emotionally.

On the contrary, they will use their minds and see how they have benefited from the Congress government at the Centre. 

“`Modi has been winning Assembly elections and immediately after that there were Parliamentary elections. Why then have the results been different and favouring the Congress despite a proclaimed Modi wave,’’ questioned Doshi.Pride at stake

So, even as the choice of candidates by both parties have been made on the basis of the winnability factor, the BJP is banking heavily on the Modi sentiment. BJP’s PM in waiting too does not want to take it lightly.

He has ensured conduct of public rallies in Congress strongholds to ensure a clear tilt in his favour.  

Realising the lack of time and the large number that Modi has to reach out to, he has innovated ways of campaigning to reach out to the people.

So if it was the 3D campaign during the Assembly elections, this time he has resorted to more traditional methods. Modi has written personalised letters to the citizens of Vadodara.

“It is a way to address people individually, as he will not be able to camp in Vadodara like his opponents since he has to take care of other constituencies.

Such methods do impress people and they realise that he was making an attempt to reach out to them,’’ said Vadodara BJP president Bharat Dangar.

Though Modi had organised a massive road show and addressed a rally in the city, the party cadre was already enthused and they have now pledged to defeat the Congress candidate Madhusudan Mistry by the largest margin.

For the BJP, it is an election for pride for they know the results are a forgone conclusion.
This sentiment is expressed by almost every BJP party worker in the state.

This election might not be a Gujarat-centric election though the PM candidate is from Gujarat who has been travelling across the country as the party’s main vote

“They want to see a man who has come from among them, from the community and hence I think this time the voter turnout too will be higher, especially in the urban areas of the state,’’ said Pandya.

The BJP hopes to replicate what the state Congress under the leadership of the then chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki did in 1984 – it won 24 out of 26 Lok Sabha seats that year - a record which has remained unbeaten.

The Congress, however, hopes to improve its tally despite all predictions going against it. In 2009 LS polls, it won 11 of the total 26 (later, two of its MPs crossed over to join the BJP) seats.

So, in the outgoing Lok Sabha, the Congress has a tally of 9 and the BJP 17. While the BJP, hoping to cash in on the Modi wave, presumes that its tally will go up to 24 at least, the Congress with a lacklustre cadre only hopes to retain its tally.

Even pre-poll predictions have convinced the BJP and its cadre that the party in the state is heading toward a clean sweep, with most of them predicting 22 out of the 26 seats in favour of BJP.

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