BJP may win in Limbdi but there are some fundamental issues which the local people raised and therefore the winning margin of BJP could drop.
Team Jan Ki Baat moved it’s election journey towards Limbdi constituency. The team of three reporters Jay Ji, Nishchhal and Shadab Khan spoke to people of Limbdi to get their opinions for the upcoming Gujarat elections. People of Limbdi had issues related to drinking water, electricity, roads, health and education. These concerns of public can make this election a little tricky for BJP. Although BJP may win this election but there is a pure chance of a close fight between the incumbent BJP and Congress.
After traveling 100 km towards Rajkot we reached surendranagar district. Limbdi is a developing village of Surendranagar. Total numbers of voters in Limbdi are 2,90,000 and 98,000 of them belong to the Koli samaj. This Samaj has always played a decisive factor as far as elections in this area is concerned. In 2012 assembly elections Congress candidate Somabhai Patel who happens to be from the Koli samaj had defeated BJP’s candidate Kirit Rana. Congress could not keep this seat with itself for long. As in 2013 By-elections, Kirit Rana defeated Congress and thereafter the parliamentary elections also went in favor of BJP. Now this time Kirit Rana and Soma Bhai are set to contest again. However the Koli samaj has been a trusted voter for congress and supported Soma Bhai in past but this time Koli samaj looks quite divided in terms of favoring either of the parties and this may prove out to be beneficial for Kirit Bhai. So the political equation in Limbdi looks quite complicated this time around and this looks like a close fight between the two parties.
Apart from the observing the political equation, we decided to get the accurate situations on the ground. We went to the market, met small shopkeepers, street vendors, buyers, travelers, villagers and housewives. There was a common market place in Limbdi where u could get items for daily use.
We spoke with small businessmen and traders. They clearly critisized Rahul Gandhi and even Hardik Patel and supported BJP and Narendra Modi. A majority of people were favoring BJP. They declined that there has been adverse effect of GST and demonetisation on the people.
The whole perception got changed as we entered the internal areas and met villagers and women.
They told us about their problems of daily life. We talked with several villagers and they had a common issue of drinking water. Water supply was not regular and had to buy water cans and bottles for their daily use. One woman told us that she had to buy water cans for 1000-2000 rupees per month. Drainage system and gutter issues are also one of major problems faced by local villagers. Health and education related issues have also made them unhappy.
Children are forced to go to private schools due to insufficient education facilities available in government schools. We went deep in those villages and found the same situation everywhere. Some young villagers also raised the issue of insufficient industrialization in those areas and lack of jobs.
We spoke with almost 250 people in Limbdi. We found three major factors that will affect the upcoming assembly elections – lack of fundamental structure, a good image of PM Modi and Vijay Rupani among traders and small businessmen, and the caste equations. These three factors will make this election a close contest. Despite the close contest BJP seems to take a marginal lead over congress and margin may increase after the rallies of PM Modi who has a good impact on people of Limbdi.
Report by Jay Ji, Nishchhal and Shadab
Story by Shadab Khan & Sparsh Upadhyay