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Gujarat assembly elections 2017: Major factors to impact voters

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The dates of Gujarat assembly elections have been announced and the two key political parties Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress are ready with their strategies  and policies to win the battle.

The Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi should now announce Gujarat chief ministerial candidate for the consolidation of votes in this crucial elections. Meanwhile, Gujarat assembly polls are a prestige issue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah and thus applying all resources  and tactics including his maximum rallies in his home state shows the anxiety and nervousness of the  BJP that has ruled the state for 22 years.

After Congress accused Election Commission of India for conniving with the BJP for delaying the announcement of Gujarat poll dates so that the Saffron party gets adequate time to launch several projects and provide sops to lure voters.

Rejecting allegations, Election Commission ultimately on Wednesday (Oct 25) announced  that Gujarat assembly elections will be held in two phases -on December 9 and December 14 for 182 seats in the house and the counting of votes will be held on December 18 alongwith those for Himachal Pradesh.

The Model code of Conduct thus comes into effect immediately.

As the battle between Congress and BJP intensifies in the state, Rahul Gandhi is up in arms to attack Narendra Modi on the issues of Demonetisation and Goods and services tax (GST), utter joblessness, closing down of small and medium industries,  which are already haunting the saffron party.

Narendra Modi is attempting to touch every chord of voters mind starting from religion, caste and threatening them with withholding the funds if they dare to vote for Congress. There are numerous factors on which the swing of votes can take place. First and foremost, small and medium traders are aggrieved with the GST termed by Rahul Gandhi as “Gabbar Singh Tax”, Second, the pain  and suffering caused by the abrupt banning of high denomination notes, Third, the government failed miserably to provide employment opportunities, Fourth,Caste based groups pose a major threat to the BJP due to the brutal handling of the Patel’s agitation who constitute 12 % of the vote bank, Fifth, the anti-incumbency factor also exists, Sixth, minorities are unhappy with the way the saffron party has attacked them on the  issues of Ghar-Wapsi, by Gau-Rakshaks etc.

According to IndiaSpend content analysis of the English media, Muslims were the target of 51% of violence centred on bovine issues and as many of 97% of these attacks were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came to power in May 2014, and about half the cow-related violence – 32 of 63 cases – were from states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when the attacks were reported, recorded until June 25, 2017, media reported.

But the nervousness of BJP is quite evident that the state administration is bent on hounding out  Hardik Patel, a social and political activist who participated and led the Patidar reservation agitation for the inclusion of the Patidar caste in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category in order to qualify for reserved quotas in education and government jobs.

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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