Gujarat BJP pins hope on Modi, Shah

The BJP hopes Narendra Modi's appeal as a son of the soil and Amit Shah's strategy will ensure an emphatic victory in the December polls in Gujarat despite strong anti-incumbency against the party's uninterrupted 19-year rule.

By J.P. YADAV
  • Published 13.10.17
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New Delhi, Oct. 12: The BJP hopes Narendra Modi's appeal as a son of the soil and Amit Shah's strategy will ensure an emphatic victory in the December polls in Gujarat despite strong anti-incumbency against the party's uninterrupted 19-year rule.

Apart from Modi's pull in his home state, which he ruled as chief minister for 13 years from 2001, BJP managers feel the Congress's apparent lack of a credible leadership and the disarray it has been thrown into because of defections would leave the people with no choice but to support the BJP.

Internally, BJP leaders acknowledged the current Gujarat government led by the "not-so-appealing" Vijay Rupani was battling huge anti-incumbency on the ground, apart from tall development claims that have remained unfulfilled and the distress in the agriculture sector because of massive flooding this year.

"We may not have fulfilled the expectations of all sections of voters, but the people of Gujarat have a lot of faith in the leadership of Narendrabhai. Gujarati pride is associated with Modiji and we are sure people will come out and support us," a BJP leader associated with the affairs of the state said.

The Election Commission today announced the poll dates for Himachal Pradesh but not Gujarat, and party leaders said more schemes aimed at placating the electorate and instilling faith in them that Modi as Prime Minister would take care of his home state could be on the anvil.

Modi recently visited Gujarat for two days, laid the foundation stone for a host of development projects and inaugurated some. The BJP believes he could visit the state again before the poll dates are announced and the model code of conduct comes into force.

The BJP managers said that while Modi's appeal and Shah's strategy were their main weapons in the electoral battle, they had plans in place to address all issues related to the polls and would use all their energy to send out the message that the party was invincible in Gujarat.

"In the past 19 years, the BJP has become a well-entrenched party in Gujarat. We have a huge army of party cadres and booth-level workers, who are on the job to convince the people about why a BJP defeat in Gujarat will be a big personal loss for Modi," a state BJP leader said, adding that his party would post a big victory.

To counter the quota rebellion by the Patidars (Patels) led by Hardik Patel, the BJP managers said they had reached out to a host of other backward caste groups in the state, as well as Dalits, who "suffer" because of the Patel domination in the rural areas.

The BJP believes the Congress is not in a position to take advantage of the ground situation because of the lack of a credible leadership. With the desertion of veteran leader Shankersinh Vaghela and his supporters, the Gujarat Congress is in disarray and the efforts of Rahul Gandhi will not bear fruits, the BJP feels.