New Delhi: The stage is all set for high voltage electoral battle in the politically important state Gujarat with the Election Commission on Wednesday announcing the two phase polls on December 13 and 17.

Modi welcomes Gujarat poll schedule
BJP sure of retaining power in Guj, HP
Guj polls on Dec 13, 17;HP to vote on Nov 4

Gujarat assembly polls will be a litmus test for Chief Minister Narendra Modi who aspires to be the Prime Minister of the country in 2014 general elections. The BJP’s poster boy Modi will have to script resounding victory in this poll to bolster his Prime Ministerial candidature.

However, it will be interesting to see that whether the BJP will still fight elections on the plank of development or not. At the same time, the Congress will try to reap the benefit from the anti-incumbency against Modi.

But the political dynamics of Gujarat is quite different from that of other states. For example, had the development plank been the only parameter for winning elections, the people of Andhra Pradesh would not have thrown one time kingmaker and Telugu Desam Party supremo N Chandrababu Naidu out of power in the state.

The Congress will strive hard to dislodge Narendra Modi government. The grand old party has been out of power in the state since 1997. The UPA government has been providing substantial central aids to Gujarat aiming at better polls prospects. UPA’s flagship scheme MNREGA and its mega farm loan waiver had brought Manmohan Singh government back to the power in 2009 decimating the anti-incumbency against it.

However, the assembly polls are on the other hand a different ball game altogether as the local issues dominate it. If we have a look at the party wise performance in 2007 assembly polls, it gives a different picture. The BJP retained the crown winning 117 seats, while the Congress registered victory on 60 assembly constituencies in 182-member House.  At the same time, in 2009 Lok Sabha polls the BJP won 15 seats, while the Congress managed to send 11 MPs to the lower house.

Modi has been fighting elections on the sentimental and development planks. The poster boy of the BJP enjoys the support of particular community. That is why, he had returned to power in 2002 and 2007 assembly polls with landslide victory despite post Godhra riots.

The Gujarat polls is also likely to witness mudslinging as Modi in recent comment took jibe at amount spent on Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s foreign trips. In reply, the Gujarat Congress said that Modi has lost control over his mind.    

JPN/Amar Kumar Sharma

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