Team Jan Ki Baat headed towards the hub of Saurashtra and the hometown of the incumbent Chief Minister, Vijay Rupani, Rajkot. The report in Rajkot was led by the CEO of Jan Ki Baat, Pradip Bhandari, along with anchor Anirudh. While explaining the significance of this seat, Pradip said, “Just like Vijay Rupani, Narendra Modi and Keshubhai Patel also fought their first elections from Rajkot before assuming the Chief Minister’s seat.” So will Rajkot sway the Rupani Way or Rajguru Way? Before finding out, let’s look at some important facts about Rajkot.
Constituencies: Rajkot East, Rajkot West, Rajkot South, Rajkot Rural, Jasdan, Gondal, Jetpur, Dhoraji.
Date of Election: 09-12-17
Phase – 1
Number of Registered Voters: 2064759
The first voter summed up the political scenario in Rajkot for us. He said, “Both the parties are campaigning aggressively for the much coveted seats. While BJP has put the incumbent chief minister in this race, Congress has deployed heavyweight Indranil Rajguru.” After summing up the political situation, he talked about the various issues that the voter is facing. “Students also need a lot of development. There is a need to improve the education policy. I do not wish to align with any political party. We want a government that actually does vikaas”, he added. Anirudh further asked him what were the issues on which he was going to vote. He says, “So many people sleep hungry every single night. No one does anything about that.”
Moving on, Anirudh asked a young enthusiast about the election atmosphere in the state. He replied, “They start making roads only when elections are round the corner. They just waste money.” Pradip went on to ask the youngsters about the key issues for this particular election. They said, “GST in restaurants was very expensive but because of elections Modi reduced it. There should also be entrance exams for our MLAs. Youngsters will get a chance to change the country then.”
After many hesitated to talk on the mic, we talked to a businessman. “The race for this seat is intense. Rajkot is also the epicenter for the Patidar agitation. The party respecting Patidars will have a better chance”, he said. When asked about Hardik Patel hurting BJP’s prospects, he claimed, “The BJP will surely suffer.” Before signing off, he said, “steps like Demonetisation and GST will surely have electoral impacts.”
Next up Pradip asked a young voter, Viral, about the youth’s aspirations. The latter was very much against the attitude of the youth to want things handed them on a platter, in a subtle dig towards the anaamat andolan. “Everybody should be on the same platform, giving someone reservations is not competition.” In a rather inspirational message, he asked the youth “to create your own path”. He called out for a exam for MLA hopefuls as well. He did agree that BJP is ahead in the race. “BJP has worked hard. I do not sympathise towards them but it is true they have worked”, he added. Pradip lauded Viral for being a greatly responsible and aware citizen of the country.
Another voter summed up his position by saying, “BJP is doing good work and what Hardik has done is very bitter.”
A middle aged citizen, Prakash Chauhan, then shared his views. “Despite BJP slowing down a little bit, they will surely win”, he said. On being asked about the key issues this election, he added, “No one wins so easily without doing something.” He went on, “Hardik is losing his plot.”
Next, Pradip spoke to a senior citizen who said, “People can see the development and is ongoing. It is for the people to decide if Vikaas has actually happened. And it seems people do see that development has happened.” When asked about GST and Demonetisation, he added, “Demonetisation’s effect has subsided but GST has affected a lot of small businessmen.”
Further, a youngster was kind enough to talk to us. He said, “people do get jobs, it is not true that they haven’t. But the opportunities are, in fact, limited.” As Pradip talked to more youngsters there, they agreed that development has happened. Vikaas is visible.”
In closing, Anirudh concluded that the pulse in Rajkot is towards the BJP. “Demonetisation and GST will have some effects, but overall BJP looks stronger.”
Pradip’s Take on Whether Rajkot Will Sway the Rupani Way or Rajguru Way? :
“Rajkot’s populace seems politically inclined towards the BJP. They feel Vikaas has happened. The number of seats might reduce. But they do believe that BJP has the upper hand in Rajkot. If BJP does win with a convincing majority in Rajkot, it raises a lot of questions against the credibility of the Hardik Patel-led movement for agitation.”