An analysis of pre-poll surveys reveals that Gujarat Assembly election 2017
may not be an easy win for Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the margin of victory will probably be smaller than expected. To win, a party needs 92 seats.
Congress, which is BJP’s major opposition in the polls has been seizing on discontent caused by the slowdown in the economy. Moreover, the twin shock of goods and services tax (GST) and the demonetisation
drive has hurt the economy of Gujarat, like the rest of the country, and the state’s businessmen have for long been making loud complaints.
Gujarat is Modi’s turf where he earned his spurs as a business-friendly leader who cut red tape and graft and turned the state into an economic powerhouse.
Three big polls carried out in the run-up to the vote on Saturday and next week predicted a victory for BJP with an average of 105-106 seats.
ABP-CDS poll: The poll conducted this week, among 3,655 voters across 50 Assembly constituencies, gave the BJP 91-99 seats in the 182-member state house and Congress 78-86, suggesting a close fight.
India TV poll: The opinion poll predicts that BJP will bag 106-116 seats, while Congress will win 63-73 seats. Other parties and independents will gain the remaining two-four seats.
Times Now-VMR survey: The survey, after conducting 6,000 interviews on 684 polling booths in Gujarat, sees BJP getting 111 seats, Congress polling 68 seats and others gaining three seats.
Of the three surveys, the India TV puts BJP closest to victory, just like the saffron party did in 2012 by winning 116 seats. The Congress had won 60 seats in the previous polls.
BJP President Amit Shah
has set a target of winning over 150 seats. As per the surveys, Shah’s dream may not see the light of day. This may also be due to Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive campaigning in the state, which has largely managed to corner the saffron party.
A big takeaway for the Congress was ensuring the support of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), an umbrella organisation of the numerically strong Patidar community, which traditionally formed the bedrock of the BJP's support in Gujarat.
Rahul’s popularity shadowing Modi?
The Lokniti-CSDS-ABP News survey also showed while Rahul Gandhi’s popularity is rising, that of Modi is taking a dip with the gap between the two leaders’ likeability narrowing down to seven points from 16 points in October.
However, with 64 per cent votes, Modi still remains the most popular leader in the state, according to the survey. In India, too, Modi is far more popular than his rivals. Modi has thrown himself into the campaign, addressing dozens of rallies over the past month, saying he alone could deliver on development.
Gujarat will go to polls in two phases on 9 and 14 December and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 18.