The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to retain Gujarat in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017, scheduled for December 9 and 14. It is only in the 98 rural seats that Congress could offer some resistance.
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. 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.
The BJP's election managers, however, dismissed suggestions that the support of caste leaders would lead to a turnaround in the Congress's fortunes. 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.
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. "We also have our own committed Patidar support which will not move away from the BJP".
In the 2012 polls, the BJP won 115 seats, while Congress could secure 61. "Rahulji should tell us what his view on this", he said.The BJP leaders in poll-bound Gujarat feel this issue can be used to take on "soft-Hindutva" strategy adopted byCongress party in view of the state assembly elections.
Yogi Adityanath had already campaigned in Gujarat in two phases, participating in "Gaurav Yatra" on October 12 and 13 and later for three days last week addressing public meetings in pockets with a sizeable concentration of immigrants - Saurashtra, Surat and coastal Porbandar.
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. The poll says that the other parties will gain 14% vote share. He said the party gave tickets to those who joined from the Congress as they have represented their constituencies for long. And in Kutch, as per the survey, the BJP is likely to get 27-31 seats and the Congress 23-27 seats.
In the past one month, the Congress has offset its huge deficit in south and central Gujarat and now leads by 2 points in the south while being neck-and-neck in central Gujarat.
How many polling booths are there in Gujarat? While the younger voters aged between 18 and 29 years are likely to vote for BJP, those in the 30-39 years and 40-59 years age groups showed somewhat preference for Congress. The counting of votes would take place on December 18 and the results announced the same day.