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In Gujarat, BJP Banks on Modi Wave While Congress Focuses on Rural Distress to Win 2019 Battle

Political observers believe that a close contest is expected between the BJP and Congress in Surendranagar, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Amreli, Banaskantha, Patan, Mehsana, Chhota-Udepur, Valsad, Bardoli, Dahod and Kutch Lok Sabha seats.

Vijaysinh Parmar | News18.com

Updated:April 23, 2019, 12:12 PM IST
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In Gujarat, BJP Banks on Modi Wave While Congress Focuses on Rural Distress to Win 2019 Battle
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Ahmedabad: As 26 parliamentary constituencies and four Assembly seats in Gujarat began voting peacefully on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah cast their votes in Ahmedabad in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections.

The early estimate suggests that approximately 12-14 per cent voting was registered in the first two hours of voting between 7 and 9 am.

BJP has left no stone unturned to retain all 26 Lok Sabha seats it won in 2014, in Gujarat, as the state remains crucial for the party to re-elect Modi for a second term. Moreover, Modi himself has addressed seven public rallies in the state to ensure his home-turf remains with him.

During his poll campaigns in Gujarat, PM Modi had repeatedly appealed to voters to re-elect ‘son of the soil’ as the PM.

BJP is heavily banking on a repeat of ‘Modi wave’ while Congress has campaigned on rural distress, minimum support price for crops, unemployment, ill-effect of demonetisation and poor implementation of GST for businessmen.

Political observers believe that a close contest is expected between the BJP and Congress in Surendranagar, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Amreli, Banaskantha, Patan, Mehsana, Chhota-Udepur, Valsad, Bardoli, Dahod and Kutch Lok Sabha seats.

In Amreli, Congress has fielded Paresh Dhanani, a close aide of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and leader of opposition in state Assembly, against BJP’s sitting MP Naran Kachadiya.

In Anand, Congress has fielded Bharatsinh Solanki, son of former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki and former Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee. Bharatsinh Solanki had won the Lok Sabha elections from Anand in 2004 and 2009. However, Bharatsinh Solanki had lost 2014 polls to the BJP's Dilip Patel with a margin of 63,426 votes.

Out of the seven Assembly constituencies in Anand, in 2017, the Congress had won in five Assembly seats, while the BJP secured only two wins.

In Bardoli, Congress has fielded its senior leader Tushar Chaudhary, son of former chief minister Amarsinh Chaudhary. Tushar Chaudhary was a minister of state in Manmohan Singh-led government at Centre.

BJP has fielded its sitting MP Dipsinh Rathod in North Gujarat’s Sabarkantha Lok Sabha constituency while the Congress has fielded its MLA Rajendra Thakor. The seat is dominated by the Thakors, Patels, Kshatriya and Tribals.

In 2017 Assembly polls, out of the total seven assembly seats which fall under Sabarkantha, the Congress had won four while the BJP grabbed three seats. However, this seat seems evenly “poised” this time.

Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel, who joined the Congress before Lok Sabha polls, is one of the star campaigners of the grand old party in the state.

Political observers are closely watching Congress’s disgruntled MLA Alpesh Thakor’s move who snapped all ties with the Congress a few days ago and now he called upon his followers to defeat Congress in Lok Sabha polls. Experts also believe that Thakor might be the ‘impact factor’ in North Gujarat’s Banaskantha, Patan and Sabarkantha seats where Thakor community votes are crucial.

Posing risk, Congress MLAs Jawahar Chavda (Manavadar), Parshottam Sabariya (Dhrangdhra), Vallabh Dharaviya (Jamnagar Rural) and Ashaben Patel (Unjha) have switched to BJP.

Jawahar Chavda, Parshottam Sabariya and Ashaben Patel are contesting assembly by-polls on BJP tickets in their respective constituencies. In Jamnagar Rural assembly seat, BJP has fielded Raghavji Patel.

In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, voters’ turnout was 63.66 per cent in Gujarat and it was highest voters’ turnout since 1967 Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat.

Voting is underway for by-polls for four Assembly seats as well which is being held along with 26 Lok Sabha seats.

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| Edited by: Anu Parthiban
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