National

Relentless BJP looks to strengthening its iron grip over Gujarat

Virendra Pandit Gandhinagar | Updated on January 10, 2018 Published on September 01, 2017

Drumroll begins An advertising hoarding of the BJP that came up at a major junction in Ahmedabad recently   -  Vijay Soneji;Vijay Soneji -

Eyes 150 seats in the State’s 182-member Legislative Assembly



Soon after the reshuffle of the Union Cabinet on Sunday, the BJP is set to move into election mode, with Assembly elections lined up in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

In the western State, which has been a saffron citadel for over 20 years now, the party is keen to strengthen its hold: it is eyeing an unprecedented 150 seats in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly.

Having announced its “Mission 150”, the ruling party has even coined a new slogan — Garje Gujarat (Roaring Gujarat). This seems to be an evolution over the popular phrase during the Narendra Modi era — Garvi Gujarat (Proud Gujarat), adopted from an 1873 poem, Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat, by the great poet, Narmada Shankar Dave (Kavi Narmad). As Chief Minister Modi had coined the phrase “Vibrant Gujarat”. His successor, Anandiben Patel, too, coined another: Gatisheel Gujarat (dynamic Gujarat). Few remember these now! The BJP leadership recently nominated Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, a Rajya Sabha MP from the State, to head its election affairs, while also naming senior leaders Jitendra Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and PP Choudhary to assist him. They have meetings with BJP General Secretaries Ram Lal and Bhupendra Yadav. The latter is the in-charge of the BJP’s affairs in Gujarat.

The party is leaving no stone unturned to strengthen its saffron hold over the State, where the Congress has been out of power since 1995. The BJP believes that the impact of multiple agitations launched by the Patidars, OBCs, the Dalits, the anti-GST traders and others, has fizzled out and will have no impact on its poll prospects.

According to an opinion poll involving nearly 4,000 voters, conducted by a national TV news channel in August and aired on Thursday, the BJP is likely to win anywhere between 144 and 152 seats, while the Congress will only secure 36-42 seats. In 2012, the BJP and the Congress had won 117 and 57 seats, respectively.

A couple of months ago, the Gujarat Congress had coined a slogan, Congress Aave Chhe, (Congress is returning — to power!). Now the BJP has rebutted it with its Naa Chale, (won’t last!) campaign, as unidentified people put up such posters in Surat and elsewhere, apparently targeting the Congress. The attempt is to watch public reaction in a city where BJP chief Amit Shah was not allowed to speak, at the height of the Patidar agitation in 2015.

Meanwhile, former Gujarat Minister Jaynarayan Vyas, who is Chairman of BJP’s Election Manifesto Committee, said on Thursday that the party document, focused on better socio-economic infrastructure, will be released by Amit Shah in the next four to five weeks.

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Published on September 01, 2017
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