Gujarat Story Is All About PM Modi And His Guarantees 

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Gujarat Story Is All About PM Modi And His Guarantees 

| Updated: May 9, 2024 15:38

The party is not only aiming for a hattrick but winning each seat with wide margins too

In Gujarat, it was all about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his guarantees. It was all about making him the Prime Minister for the third time. It was about ‘asmita’ (pride).

In scorching heat, the electorate voted on 25 Lok Sabha seats on Tuesday. The state reported 60.13% voter turnout as against 64.11% in 2019, a difference of minus 3.98%. 

Mukesh Dalal, the BJP candidate from Surat, was declared elected unopposed on April 22 after the Congress candidate and his dummy’s form were rejected on technical grounds. Thereafter, others in the fray withdrew. 

In the state marketed as the BJP’s model state, and the party aiming for a hattrick, is the low voter turnout a reason to worry for the BJP? The party is not only aiming at a hattrick, its Gujarat state president C R Paatil has set a target of winning each of the seats by a margin of over 5 lakh votes. 

The BJP is confident that the results will be a repeat of 2014 and 2019. But, the Congress, which fought on 24 seats, leaving two seats for the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party under the INDIA alliance, feels otherwise. 

Good margins

For the BJP it is not just about winning all 26 seats, it is a prestige issue of winning these with good margins. After all, Gujarat has witnessed saffron rule for nearly three decades. In the 2019 elections, out of the 26 seats, the party won five seats over a margin of 5 lakh votes, and the lowest margins, if at all these can be called lowest, were on four seats.

The wait for the results is three weeks. However, calculations have begun in the political parties. Gujarat BJP spokesperson Yagnesh Dave told ‘Vibes of India’ that despite the drop in voter turnout percentage, the BJP will win all the seats. Citing an example of 2017 and 2022 Assembly elections, Dave said that the BJP won more seats in 2022 as compared to 2017 despite lower turnout as compared to the previous election. He attributed lower turnout to the dejection of Congress voters. 

Gujarat Congress vice president Bimal Shah, however, held that the BJP workers and those at the booth levels were unhappy as the BJP has been taking Congressmen in its fold. “The BJP workers have felt ignored as the Congressmen are given importance,” Shah alleged. He claimed that it will be a repeat of 2004. In 2004, the Congress had won 12 out of the 14 LS seats. 

Rupala controversy

As the BJP approached the elections, it was all about Modi and his guarantees. However, a statement by Rajkot BJP candidate Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala irked the Kshatriya community and it gave a call to boycott the BJP.

At a function organised by the Valmiki community, Rupala praised the community for not bowing down to the colonial rulers. However, he also said that the royals kept relations with the colonial rulers and married their daughters to them. He apologised soon. Paatil too apologised. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also said that Rupala should be pardoned as he had apologised. 

Later, what had begun with a demand to change Rupala as the candidate, snowballed into an agitation with the call to boycott the BJP.

Whether the Kshatriya ire results in the BJP losing a couple of seats remains to be seen. But Ahmedabad-based political analyst Vidyut Joshi strongly felt that it is the beginning of questioning Modi’s hegemony. He told ‘Vibes of India’ that the beginning has been made in Gujarat in 2024. He recalled that Indira Gandhi too faced opposition when it started reflecting “Indira is India”. Here, Modi is BJP, Joshi said, claiming that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers were not active in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

P T Jadeja, a member of the Kshatriya community’s coordination committee, said that Kshatriyas have voted in large numbers and the voting has been really good in rural areas. “Our women normally do not go out to vote in Lok Sabha elections. They come out to vote in sarpanch elections. But, this time they have come out in huge numbers,” he pointed out. 

It will be an embarrassment for the BJP if the Congress wins even a single seat. Coming from the Prime Minister’s home state, it makes all the difference.

Also Read: Heatwave Impacts Voter Turnout in Gujarat

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