Gujarat polls: Despite ruling party’s rebel problem and ‘Congress-yukt BJP’, Brand Modi abides
Rebel BJP candidates are openly expressing their views against the High Command. The party had to give tickets to almost all the MLAs who came from the Congress, lest they decide to indulge in a political “gharvapasi”
For several experts, the results of the December 2022 Assembly elections in Gujarat may seem a foregone conclusion but the ruling party is not likely to have it easy. The BJP may perhaps improve its tally and form the government but it is very unlikely to break the record of the 1985 Madhavsinh Solanki-led Congress’s 149 out of 182 assembly seats.Gujarat polls
Since 2002, elections in Gujarat have been contested under the leadership of Narendra Modi. The tally of the ruling BJP has been going down since then: It was 127 in 2002 in the post-Godhra period. In the December 2017 election, the BJP won 99 out of 182 seats. Compared to Himachal Pradesh, which voted recently, the prestige of the Prime Minister and Home Minister is more at stake in Gujarat. Modi loyalists are confident of their prospects. They feel that the entry of the Aam Aadmi Party and MIM in the fray, and Congress MLAs deserting the party benefit the BJP.
At the same time, however, rebel BJP candidates are openly expressing their views against the High Command. The party had to give tickets to almost all the MLAs who came from the Congress, lest they decide to indulge in a political “gharvapasi”. It seems that the BJP has become “Congress Yukt”.
It was a common occurrence in the Congress to create hallagulla (hullabaloo) when tickets were denied. But this time, this malaise seems to have spread to the BJP as well. Two former ministers and stalwarts –Prabhatsinh Chauhan and Jaynarayan Vyas – and other leaders and district-level office bearers have resigned from the party.Gujarat polls
Chauhan has joined Congress. Shankarsinh Vaghela’s son and former MLA, Mahendrasinh Vaghela, is back with the party.
The election campaigns of all three main parties began with people-centric issues. But that seems to be changing. The AAP, for example, seemed to shy away from condemning the release of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.Gujarat polls
All three major parties have started aligning with various communities. The selection of the candidates is being done on this basis. While there is an attempt to cash in on religious divides, people in the state do not seem to be swayed by communal winds. They are not openly expressing their opinion. That makes most parties and the candidates jittery.Gujarat polls
AAP may open its account in the Gujarat Assembly but the main contenders still appear to be the BJP and Congress. The failure of the Congress to resolve the CM issues does give the BJP the edge, especially because it has the Modi factor in its favour. But the Lok Sabha elections are about a year and half away. The BJP is under pressure.Gujarat polls