Party workers are constantly trying to woo voters and emerge as a key opposition party to the ruling BJP.
NEW DELHI: The shifting of focus from Assembly elections to Bharat Jodo Yatra may prove fatal for Congress as the AAP is trying to put its entire energy to open some vote banks in Gujarat. The party workers have been consistently putting efforts to woo the voters and emerge as a key opposition party to the ruling BJP, but this may lower Congress’ vote share, but not below 20%.
“With new entrants like AAP, Congress vote share may get affected and this will be favourable to BJP,” Shitalben S. Soni, BJP leader, told The Sunday Guardian. Senior party leaders in AAP also believe that the party is focusing more on Gujarat than Himachal Pradesh due to limited resources. As a result, most of the big faces are trying to build inroads into Gujarat as the ruling party, BJP, has a strong hold over the state (Gujarat), which is much bigger than Himachal Pradesh.
The Sunday Guardian also spoke to a political analyst in Gujarat, Priyavardan Shah, who listed out several challenges that explain that AAP may not win Gujarat, unlike Punjab, but may open some vote banks in the state for the first time.
Most of the people in Gujarat believe that AAP favours Muslims over Hindus. Shah told this paper, “There is an impression that AAP is favourable to Muslims and in Gujarat, Hinduism is dominant. Congress is strong in North Gujarat and the Saurashtra region of the state that includes Porbander, Rajkot and so on. However, new entrants like AAP will not affect BJP but may affect Congress to some extent. AAP is making guarantees that are already present in Gujarat and no special guarantee cards are launched by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.”
Another key point is the complete dominance of Delhi AAP workers over Gujarat local AAP workers, who are consulted during the selection process of the party workers. “Many AAP workers in Gujarat are not happy as the local AAP workers are not consulted and the selection process is entirely controlled from Delhi, as a result, the party workers get annoyed,” he added.
Last but not the least, AAP’s CM face in Gujarat, is not strong enough and when faced by a strong ruling BJP, may not be acceptable to the people. “PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are the two popular faces in Gujarat, and frequently visit the state; no leaders are as strong as compared to these leaders. The BJP will focus on Gujarat as it is the ‘model state’ and losing power in the state will make the status of ‘model state’ questionable.
The 182-seat Gujarat Assembly polls will be a tripartite political struggle between BJP, Congress and AAP for the first time. In the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections, AAP contested for the first time, however, it was unable to secure even one seat. Due to the absence of the party’s most well-known figures, CM Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, all 29 of its candidates lost.
However, this time, the scenario seems different as Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has been keeping an eye on the state.
However, this year, he and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann launched the first campaign in Ahmedabad on the first day of Chaitree Navratri following the party’s defeat in 2017. Beginning on 3 July, he stayed in Ahmedabad for two days. Then, on his birthday, 16 August, he visited Kutch. After that, from 12–13 September, he paid a two-day visit to Ahmedabad. Then, in October, CM Arvind Kejriwal and CM Bhagwant Mann travelled to Surat for two days to evaluate the preparation level.