The Election Commission must ensure a level playing field for all parties in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly polls. Now that the election dates have been announced, no-holds-barred campaigns by parties will begin.
The Assembly elections will consume political interest almost entirely at the end of the year and likely have countrywide repercussions. Despite the opinion
polls predicting a huge win for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the race is wide open.
The purpose of broadcasting opinion
polls held weeks ago is not easy to comprehend when the situation on the ground is changing fast. The fact is that demonetisation and the goods and services tax are unpopular with the electorate in Gujarat.
Gujarat has been a BJP
stronghold for long, but this time the party is losing ground to the Congress.
While the Congress
may not be the preferred party, more people seem to have decided that any party is better than the BJP.
One thing is for sure: The BJP’s vote share and the number of seats will reduce substantially if the electorate votes with economic reasons in mind. There is no communal tension for the BJP
to exploit. The party cannot risk playing the religious card when there is already a groundswell of anger and frustration.
Even a slew of sops and subsidies announced during the “grace period” given by the Election Commission are too little, too late. The party’s organisational strength cannot win the electoral battle.
G David Milton, Maruthancode
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