Team Jan Ki Baat has travelled to Vadodara, arguably the cultural capital of Gujarat. Vadodara was one of the two constituencies from which Prime Minister Narendra Modi fought during the general elections in 2014. Thus, it would be unwise to undermine the political significance of this seat. Housing some of the most prestigious educational institutions like MS University, the city’s populace is extremely aware of their political inclinations. Our reporter Anirudh, spoke to people in the busy area of Nyay Mandir and tried to understand the mood. Before we find out the pulse, let’s look at some key electoral facts about the city.
Constituencies: Savli, Vahgodia, Dabhoi, Vadodara City, Sayajigunj, Akota, Raopura, Manjalpur, Padra, Karjan
Date of election – 14-12-2017
Phase – II
Number of Voters: 2350289
Anirudh first talked to a few lawyers. The first being, Jehangir Sheikh. He said, “There has been no Vikaas in Vadodara. People in Gujarat and this city want a change. People don’t have any cash in their hands. It has been taken away from us. Everyone has had to suffer because of Demonetisation and GST.”
The next lawyer Anirudh spoke to was also upset with the Prime Minister. He said, “BJP has lost a lot in UP civic polls. People are finally waking up to the reality of Narendra Modi. BJP has been in power for 22 years, why does he still need to do 50 rallies? There are a lot of schools that have closed, due to privatisation. One such school was where the RBI governor studied. Owners of private schools are going to jail for rape cases.”
Next, Anirudh spoke to a couple of young lawyers. The first one said, “BJP is going to win with a full majority. Congress doesn’t have a leader or organizational strength. Vikaas in Gujarat and Vadodara will ensure a BJP win. Demonetisation is a good step to some extent. It has both – pros and cons.” He continued, “You can’t blame the government if people dump their litter on the road.”
The next voter said that he’s not sure about the elections. He said, “the results of the civic polls in UP will certainly impact the assembly election and I do believe, to some extent, that the BJP will win.” When asked about the impact of Rahul Gandhi’s temple run, he said, “You should not trust anything that Rahul Gandhi says.” The next voter who Anirudh spoke to said, “The key issue in Gujarat is caste, this election.” On Vikaas he said, “There is not enough development as it was claimed. Poor people have suffered because of steps like GST and demonetisation.” On PM Modi’s azaan gesture, he said, “It is a very big deal that he respected the Azaan. I hope he continues to continue to work with the minorities like this.”
Next, Anirudh talked to Mr Jagat Desai. He said, “There is no doubt that the BJP is going to win here. Steps like demonetisation and GST will help the economy and the nation. Whatever the BJP government at centre has done is right. Even if you look at local issues, this city has developed a lot. There is a lot of greenery in the city. They have beautified the lakes and roads.”
To sum it up, there is certainly anger amongst certain voters about various pain points that have affected the city. The BJP will not have it easy in Vadodara, despite enjoying such a strong support over the years. Some common issues for citizens in Vadodara are cleanliness, smooth roads, and electricity. Moreover, caste equations will not have a significant impact on the electoral prospects.