New Delhi: Gujarat assembly poll results are bound to have a significant impact on national politics. Given this fact, the elections are being viewed as semifinals of the contest between Narendra Modi and Congress scion Rahul Gandhi for the Prime Minister’s post in 2014.

If Modi hits a hat-trick, the BJP is most likely to project him as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the next general election. Political experts believe that 62-year-old Gujarat Chief Minister will be a formidable rival for the Congress in 2014 as the Congress doesn’t seem to have any leader to Modi's match. It is also believed that no Congress leader wants to see the forty-two-year-old scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty facing defeat after this year’s Uttar Pradesh assembly in March.

Notably, the Congress' poor show in UP was seen as failure of Rahul’s poll strategy in the state.  He had camped in the state during past one year before the assembly polls but failed completely to translate people’s sentiments against the then BSP regime into votes.

A senior political journalist Kripa Shankar said, “Failure in UP could be the main reason behind Rahul staying away from Gujarat campaign trail until the last day of campaigning.”

During poll campaign in Gujarat, Modi had ridiculed the Congress for ‘withdrawing’ all photographs of Gandhi family members from its campaign material saying, “The ‘precious’ leader of the Congress has not dared to campaign in Gujarat because he knows the temperament of Gujarati people.”

Apart from political analysts, pre-poll surveys too have predicted that the Congress is certain to taste defeat for the sixth consecutive time in Gujarat since its last victory in the state assembly elections in 1985.

Recently, the world-renowned magazine Time, in a cover story had surmised that the BJP’s firebrand leader, Modi, may emerge as the biggest threat to Rahul's run for the Prime Minister's chair.

Nevertheless, it will be worth saying here that the Gujarat assembly poll results slated for December 20 will be an acid test of the popularity of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

(Abhinav Ranjan/JPN)

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