New Delhi: The results of Gujarat Assembly poll will create a new power equation in the BJP. If Chief Minister Narendra Modi makes hat-trick by winning assembly poll to be held on December 13 and 17, the BJP’s poster boy will project himself as the strong contender for the post of Prime Minister in the 2014 general election. Senior leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely have already endorsed Modi’s candidature for the top executive post.

Political observers say that Narendra Modi is unlikely to face any hurdle in retaining the crown in Gujarat. All the eyes are on the BJP’s tally in this election. It would be interesting to see that if the Modi effect will improve BJP’s previous performance of 117 seats.

The BJP registered victory on 117 seats in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly House with 49.12 percent votes, while the Congress won 59 seats out of 173 it had contested in 2007. The vote share of the Congress was 38 percent. The difference of 11 percent vote share dented the Congress heavily restricting the grand old party to mere 59.

The Congress has been out of power in the state since 1997. Ironically, none of the Congress wannabes has measured up to Modi’s stature. Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil himself has engaged in a direct fight from heavyweight minister Purshottam Solanki on Bhavnagar Rural seat, while Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief Arjun Modhwadia is pitted against senior BJP leader Babubhai Bokhiria from Porbander.

The political bickering in the Congress may spoil the party’s poll prospect. Senior party leader Narhari Amin is set to revolt in the party alleging the irregularities in the ticket distribution. In a damage control mode, party high command dispatched Rajiv Shukla to pacify disgruntled congress leader.

As far as the BJP is concerned, its road to assembly seems to be smooth this time too. But it will face challenge from former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel’s Gujarat Parivartan Party which is likely to damage the BJP to some extent. In fact, the octogenarian leader’s influence is limited only to Saurashtra area which sends 54 MLAs to the assembly. The presence of GPP in the assembly poll is likely to prove as party-popper for the ruling BJP which won 44 seats in 2007 in politically crucial Saurashtra. During the 2007 election, about 10 BJP candidates won by thin margin. This time, they are facing the most uphill task.

Modi launched vibrant Gujarat campaign which has made him a brand for rapid development and prosperity. With the passage of time Modi consolidated his position in the party. Now Modi’s persona is larger than party. He has grasped the every opportunity to make himself brand. The effect of ‘brand Modi’ has crossed the boundary of the country. That’s why Gujarat has become the hotspot for investment.

JPN/Amar Kumar Sharma

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