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Gujarat Election 2017

BJP sure of surging past Congress as polls draw near

The first phase of polling in Gujarat is on December 9, four days after the final hearing in the title dispute begins in the Supreme Court.

Updated: Nov 21, 2017, 01.46 AM IST
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After caste became the talking point in Gujarat this time, religious divisions were pushed into the shade, creating a fresh challenge for BJP.
After caste became the talking point in Gujarat this time, religious divisions were pushed into the shade, creating a fresh challenge for BJP.
NEW DELHI: BJP is confident of surging ahead of Congress as polling dates draw closer in Gujarat. The optimism stems from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma and his connect with people of his home state, fissures in the Patidar camp and the group’s growing differences with Congress. BJP also believes hearing in the Ayodhya title suit in the Supreme Court that begins on December 5 will help the party.

The first phase of polling in Gujarat is on December 9, four days after the final hearing in the title dispute begins in the Supreme Court. No adjournments are likely to be granted as the apex court does not wish to delay the matter further.

BJP is hopeful that the party will benefit politically from the emotional issue’s currency. Fiftynine kar sewaks returning from Ayodhya were burnt to death in Godhra on February 27, 2002, which led to riots. The issue has since polarised the electorate and still is a factor that unites Hindus in the state.

After caste became the talking point in Gujarat this time, religious divisions were pushed into the shade, creating a fresh challenge for BJP. The ruling party has been working on the strategy of countering the quota stir headed by Hardik Patel, issues flagged by OBC leader Alpesh Thakor (now with Congress) and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani . The three have declared support for Congress, though Hardik’s group is unhappy with the number of seats offered by Congress. The party has also cornered BJP on the issue of development with its “development has gone crazy” slogan.

The Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute hearing may, in this context, give BJP a handle to polarise elections in Gujarat. BJP wil l also be banking on Modi’s charisma to woo voters. He is expected to address over two dozen rallies in Gujarat and if past record is anything to go by, the number of his rallies may go up. The prime minister will begin his rallies from November 25 and will be involved in the election process till the end. BJP president Amit Shah has been camping in the state along with general secretaries Bhupendra Yadav and Anil Jain. BJP is yet to declare its candidates for Mehsana and some other districts.

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