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In Gandhinagar, Modi makes his objectives clear (News Analysis)


IANS Gandhinagar
With BJP national president Amit Shah replacing party veteran L.K. Advani in the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to multitask three things: edge out the 91-year-old saffron patriarch, project his deputy in the new 2019 Union cabinet and inject a new spirit in the party cadre who have had no leader to look up to since Modi left for Delhi.
For Amit Shah, contesting from Gandhinagar is homecoming. The constituency's two assembly segments -- Sarkhej and Naranpura -- have been his pocketboroughs in five consecutive assembly elections till 2012. After winning from Sarkhej consecutively for four terms, he won from Naranpura in 2012, registering huge margins every time.
Advani has represented Gandhinagar for the party for six terms and five of them consecutively, and Amit Shah was his poll manager during the 2014 elections when Advani won by a huge margin of 4.83 lakh votes next only to that of Modi.
So, in a way Modi has sought to convey his respect to Advani by choosing Shah who is the party's national president of BJP and also an equally, if not more, formidable candidate who knows virtually every nook and cranny of this constituency.
The BJP has won Gandhinagar in nine out of 14 Lok Sabha elections since 1967. Few have doubts that it won't go with the BJP the tenth time in 2019. Five out of seven assembly segments under this seat have BJP MLAs, while Gandhinagar North and Kalol are with the Congress.
This way, Amit Shah's presence in Gandhinagar is not only expected to strengthen the seat, it will also have a salutary effect on the Ahmedabad East and Ahmedabad West constituencies, already represented by the BJP.
Besides these three seats, in the larger context, Amit Shah contesting from Gandhinagar might also have an impact in neighbouring North Gujarat, seats where the Congress seems to have improved its position after the 2017 assembly elections.
At the national level, meanwhile, Narendra Modi has created a slot for his deputy, like Advani used to be for Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and thus created a new level in the BJP's ministerial hierarchy, should the party come to power again.

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First Published: Mar 31 2019 | 4:44 PM IST

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