Election campaigning in Gujarat is peaking this week with the best guns of the BJP, Congress and AAP camping out in the state. Naturally, the BJP has marshalled its entire arsenal starting with Prime Minister Modi and His Majesty Shah and many Union cabinet members and prime ministers. Congress has finally secured the services of Rahul Gandhi, but only for two days. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is also in the state.

Analysts indicate that the three-way vote split will benefit the BJP. The unstoppable march of the BJP in Gujarat is now close enough to break the record of the Left Front in Bengal. While the CPM has governed Bengal for 33 consecutive years, the BJP has won every election in Gujarat since 1995 and has governed continuously for 24 years. The biggest plus for BJP is the Modi factor. The prime minister is a relentless campaigner during elections. Conversely, Rahul’s absence was a major disappointment to the Congress. The BJP has also taken care of the caste calculus by facing a Patidar as the face of its CM, making sure the community grievances that surfaced in 2017 are not repeated this time around.

Read also: Congress’ ‘silent campaign’ in crucial poll surprises everyone

The rise of the AAP in Gujarat has added a new dimension to Gujarat politics which has seen the same trend of the BJP stand before the Congress for over two decades. While Congress failed to garner enough seats in cities to get ahead of the BJP, the AAP has been attractive to urban voters since its inception. With Kejriwal taking soft Hindutva positions, signaling to Congress voters the party’s repeated failure to unseat the BJP and betting big on freebies, he is offering voters a distinct alternative.

The winner in 2022 will go to the 2024 Lok Sabha election with a huge lead. No surprise then that the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to ensure it improves on its 2002 127-seat win.



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