The tenure of the 14th Gujarat Legislative Assembly is scheduled to come to end on 18th February 2023. The 182 member house was elected to look after the affairs of the Gujarat state in December 2017. It is expected that the fresh elections to elect the new house for further 5 years will be held in December 2022.
However, the political observers highlight a few pointers which indicate that the establishment may have plans to hold the elections earlier than the expected date, December 2022. It goes without saying that however that announcing the election date is the prerogative of the election commission which is an independent constitutional authority. Still, the goings-on in the government and administrations can provide a clue to at least increased preparedness for the upcoming elections.
Panchayat Elections Are Withheld :
There are 2350 Gram Panchayats in Gujarat whose terms come to an end on 15th April. With this, if more than 500 other gram panchayats that came into existence due to demarcation are added where elections have not been held so far, there are 2852 gram panchayats where elections are pending.
The establishment however doesn’t seem keen to hold these elections soon. Instead, the movement to appoint administrators in place seems to be gaining ground. In normal circumstances, these elections should have been announced to be held in the last weeks of April.
Dates for Unjha By-election Not Announced :
Unjha seat held by Asha Patel is vacant since the untimely death of the MLA on 12the December 2021. There is no movement either for announcing the dates for elections to be held to fill up the vacant seat.
Administrative Transfers In Big Way :
There has been a lot of activity on the administrative side as the government affected considerable changes in administrative set up by changing, promoting and transferring IAS and IPS officers in the state.
Increased Political Activity By Ruling Party:
Prime Minister visiting Gujarat twice in two consecutive months speak volumes about the possibility of polls nearing. Social gatherings on the basis of communities are on the rise. That unique tool in the BJP arsenal, “Tiffin Baithaks” aimed to increase cohesion among activists for a common goal has started. The State BJP president C R Patil also is in active mode with the “one day one district’ campaign.
BJP is such a well oiled, never in pause mode poll machine that it would not be surprising that it has started it’s preparations even for the elections in December. BJP is not known to take any risk and complacency in electoral preparedness has no place so far in the BJP scheme of things. However, going by the indications, it can be assumed that even if the elections are preponed, the ruling party wants to be battle-ready.