Congress and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) seems to have taken pre poll surveys carried out by news channels and newspapers very seriously. They have fielded candidates who can get some votes on sympathy and not on the strength of their party or their own socio-political strengths – a clear walkover.
All the pre poll surveys have predicted a whopping comeback for Modi. These survey have forecasted more percentage of votes and seats for Modi this time than the year 2007. Then 47% votes were polled in favour of BJP and 117 candidates had won legislative assembly seats. This time about 50% votes and around 125 seats are projected.
Even after such a favourable predictions Modi went back on his image and theory of no repeat of maligned ones. This time he has given tickets to controversial leaders like Amit Shah, Purshottam Solanki, to make sure that factors of Keshubhai’s GPP and dissidence within party does not harm the poll prospects.
But the opposition parties do not want to take advantage of it and are fielding candidates who do not mind losing in the return of short time publicity. Congress has fielded Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from Maninagar constituency. Her candidature will spice up the contest and get more bites on visual media but can she pose any serious threat to the CM ?
"It is not a fight between equals, I agree...but I am fully confident that I am going with a true heart to say the truth, so people will support me...I don't have false promises to make," Shweta told reporters after getting the ticket.
This will only help Modi to reinforce his claim that congress is misusing CBI to tarnish image of his government and fabricating false cases. Indirectly Congress has extended benefit to Controversial former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah who is contesting from Naranpura. Shah is one of accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases and is out on bail.
Another disadvantage to Congress in Naranpura constituency is disgruntled former Deputy Chief Minister Narhari Amin who is denied ticket by the party. Amin has threatened to join hands with Modi openly. Senior leadership of state is now busy in doing fire fighting.
GPP has given ticket to Jagruti Pandya, widow of former home minister Haren Pandya. Jagruti is challenging BJP's Rakesh Shah in a triangular contest in Ellis Bridge. Haren Pandya was shot dead on March 26, 2003, near Law Garden area of the city when he had gone for a morning walk. Haren’s father and later his widow has been blaming governmrnt conspiracy in murder and pitching against Modi for past eight years. In past three elections their cry has failed to garner any support.
The survey had shown that the intensity of Muslims hating Modi has reduced. The surveys say, the drop is almost half. Percentage of Muslim respondents who say that they will never vote for Modi has come down from 44% to 23%. This change of heart is more because the young generation is getting participative opportunity in the growth story of the state. But still, Modi has missed the opportunity to bridge the gap with the community by not giving ticket to any Muslim candidate.
What does this all mean? The elections this time are one sided, only over confidence can defeat Modi in December. However, I foresee atleast three of his ministers definitely losing the election. There are not going to be any shocks to Modi, but for BJP yes.
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