The stage is all set for Gujarat Assembly elections. Both the parties have campaigned extensively. Leaders from all over the country have flown in to interact with voters across the state. The Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017 will have repercussions like no other. It is the first acid test for the newly elected president, Rahul Gandhi, of the Indian National Congress. On the other hand, a loss in his home state will completely shift the dynamics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019.
In a province where development that has taken centre stage for the last three elections, caste politics is a strong factor this time around. While Congress has allied with caste leaders like Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani, BJP is sticking to the development poll plank. Apart from a strong Patidar factor, BJP also faces a tough fight owing to economic disruptions like GST and demonetisation and an obvious anti-incumbency factor that has been cultivated in the last 22 years.
Jan Ki Baat has travelled extensively across the Gujarat and interacted with voters from over 150 constituencies and 25 districts. We have talked to citizens from various spectrums of the society and tried to understand their leanings, their issues and their concerns. In the process, we have interacted with 50,000 voters making it the Largest Opinion Poll on Gujarat Elections.
Before we enter into the specific questions that will influence this election, let us look at the seat share that Jan Ki Baat has predicted for the high profile elections, along with the region-wise break-up. While BJP looks to retain its stronghold in Saurashtra, Kutch and South Gujarat, Congress is set to make some serious inroads in the North Gujarat region.
During the course of our extensive coverage, there were some pertinent questions and people’s opinions on them. Let us look at the key takeaways of Gujarat discovered during the Largest Opinion Poll with a sample space of 50,000 people.
- First, we look at the impact of the Patidar agitation region wise. Clearly, the region that is most affected by the Patidar agitation against the BJP seems to be the North Gujarat region, where, as discussed above Congress is expected to make serious inroads.
- As we talked to more and more people across Gujarat, it became clearer for us that reservation isn’t the key issue for a Patidar voter but it is the atrocities that took against them during the violent protests back in 2015. Some Patidars also believe that by voting for the INC, they will teach BJP a hard lesson.
- It seems that while the Kadva Patidar sub-caste is rallying against the BJP, the Leuva Patidar will not completely abandon the BJP.
- We have also discovered that using the GST as a poll plank is no longer a good strategy especially after the 23rd GST council meeting where a lot of relief was provided to traders and businessmen. And despite people accepting that there are some problems, they are certain that it is a step in the right direction.
- Then, we looked at the various rural issues where Congress has made significant inroads. An overall atmosphere of mandi will certainly affect the BJP, especially given that farmers are very dissatisfied with the BJP.
- Congress will certainly suffer due to their campaign, #VikaasGandoThayoChe as it might hurt the Gujarati Asmita. Most of the voters echoed the same sentiment when it came to development. It is not a wise strategy to question Vikaas in Gujarat as it has certainly happened.
- Mentioned below are the key factors that will influence both the major parties in a largely bipolar election.
- Lastly, we look at the PMOO model analysis of the Mehsana seat where Deputy Chief Minister, Nitinbhai Patel is facing a tough battle against Congress’ formidable Jivabhai Patel who is very popular owing to his accesibility. Nitinbhai lost substantial ground in Mehsana after he did not meet Patidars even after the brutal Lathicharge, which will negate the good work he has done.
Thus, these are some of the key influential factors as discovered by Jan Ki Baat. During the course of carrying out the Largest Opinion Poll, we became one of the most watched Social Media platforms for the Gujarat Elections. Our opinion poll has been picked up by major media networks like Republic TV, News24, Navgujarat Samay among many others.