Gujarat polls: Campaign ends; BJP, Cong have different theories to calculate winning chances

Congress and BJP
The public campaign of second phase of Gujarat polls come to an end today.

Ahmedabad, Dec 12: With less than 48 hours to go for the final phase of Gujarat Assembly election, both the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress are upbeat as both believe they have won the hearts and now shall win votes of Gujarat.

On Thursday, in second phase 93 constituencies will be going go to poll and the public campaign came to an end today.

The campaign started, three months ago well before the Election Commission announced the poll dates, on a high note -with BJP talking of its ‘Vikas Model’ and Congress countering it by terming it anti-poor and anti-farmer model.

BJP played using statistics, while Congress countered it with facts. But as the campaign passed through various lanes of Gujarat, the main issue of ‘Vikas’ lost its sheen.

Hardik Patel factor in first phase 

As soon as the first phase was over both the camps of Congress and BJP were busy trying to get their math right on the winning prospects.

One theory says, BJP will have tough time in all those constituencies where Patidar Samaj has Hardik Patel’s influence. Neither Vijay Rupani government nor its predecessor Anandi Patel government was able to address Patidar and reservation issue.

Whether it is Saurashtra region or Mehsana belt where Hardik carried out road shows, BJP is losing grip.

“BJP have realised they haven’t performed well in first phase. They are losing. We are going to win at least 55 out of 89 seats,” said Bharat Solanki, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president.

Calling BJP’s farmer policy a blatant lie, Phillip Job, master coach at Congress’ Jawaharlal Nehru Leadership Institute, asked why the Minimum Support Price has not been resolved.

“Farmers have realised that what BJP is talking about is nothing but a mirage. We have travelled extensively and seen farmers in miserable conditions. They have responded through voting, a major reason for a big turnout in first phase in Saurashtra districts. BJP is apprehensive of losing in Rajkot and Bhavnagar, their bastions in Saurashtra region. Congress aave chhe,” stated Job.

Talking of first phase, where half of the Gujarat voted, an insider said that out of 89, party has realistic chance on 50 seats. “In place like Rajkot and Bhavnagar we may face some difficulties. Especially farmers were not our side. But we have done a good home work in tribal areas, as RSS has worked hard for the betterment of these people. It is going to fetch good results there, besides the urban areas. We are going to do better than Congress in the tribal areas. Out of 182 we should win 125 at least,” he said.

However, BJP state spokesperson Jagdish Bhavsar refused to buy the theory and said that the party was confident of winning 150 seats.

“The opposition is talking about 68% polling of first phase and making a mountain of molehill. Let me tell you the fact, that this is 3% less than 2012. That means, if the junta was unhappy with BJP’s governance then the percentage would have crossed 71. But that didn’t happen. Moreover, a message was circulated internally informing our all workers to vote before 10:30. So the wave of crowd that was seen in the morning, majority was BJP workers,” remarked Bhavsar.

Bhavsar also contested Congress claims that Union Cabinet ministers were called-in for campaigning.

“This very same Smriti Iraniji, Ravi Shankar Prasadji and Piyush Goyalji have campaigned for the party in past elections. Today they are cabinet ministers so does that make them special? This is frustration of Congress,” he remarked.

Pakistan replaces ‘Vikas’

However, in the last 72 hours, ‘Vikas’ has been replaced by ‘Pakistan’. First came the Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer’s faux pas calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a neech Admi. 

The BJP couldn’t have asked for a better poll plank with four days left for the polls.  Soon a photograph surfaced of senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, which the Congress’s political opponents captioning it as “Chidambaram and Taliban leader in a same frame,”.

Adding to the fuel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself alleged that former PM Manmohan Singh held clandestine meeting Pakistan envoy at Aiyer’s home. The remark snowballed into a controversy with with Pakistan asking not to drag it in to political fights and Manmohan Singh issuing a befitting statement against it.

But BJP has their own reasons and logic.“Why shouldn’t we use it to our advantage. They have been attacking our leader for no reason. Moreover, before 2014 elections, every single election, the Congress party raked up Godhra riots issue without any proof. But we have proof (photo) where Chidambaram is pictured with Taliban leader and Manmohanji admitting to have met Pakistan envoy. There raises question mark over Congress’ seriousness towards security of state. ,” asked a senior BJP leader.

Diversion tactics 

According to Congress, PM Modi and BJP is diverting attention from main issue because they have been caught in their own web of lies.

“Why haven’t BJP stuck with Vikas model? Vikas, the development, is nothing but necessity. People are being fooled. Parents are struggling to pay education fees of children, GST and demonetization have broke backbone of small business units.  Moreover, absence of minimum support price has added to farmers’ sufferings. Then where is Vikas,” said Bhushan Kulkarni, Youth Congress leader.

“Till the very end of our campaign, we have been talking about Nav Sarjan. BJP may have diverted from Vikas, but we have stuck to our agenda prosperity for all,” he added.

Disagreeing with Kulkarni, BJP Gujarat media cell member Hitesh Patel said BJP’s main focus is Vikas.

“It was when our PM faced personal attacks that the party responded. Talking of Vikas, Gujarat became number one state with 10% growth isn’t it Vikas. Communal tension prevailed in Gujarat, but not now. All the communities are leaving in harmony. Gujarat has 24 hours electricity, especially farmers,” questioned Patel.

And talking of reservation movement and agitation, he said, BJP has all the ability to solve it. “Once we form the next government, I am sure it will get a very satisfying solution,” he added.