|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
BJP banks on north Gujarat in poll
Shambhu Das Sahu in Mehsana | November 28, 2007 10:43 IST
Last Updated: November 28, 2007 11:04 IST
Facing stiff dissidence in Saurashtra, Gujarat's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is pinning its hopes on the northern part of the state and Mehsana district for making up possible losses.
"Yes, considering the developments in Suarashtra region, the party's performance in north Gujarat has become crucial," confesses district BJP president Keshubhai M Patel.
Saurashtra region, where six BJP leaders have revolted and are contesting on Congress tickets, goes to poll in the first phase on December 11 while north Gujarat will go on poll in the last phase on December 16.
Another source at the BJP office in Mehsana admits the party's dependence on the northern region to succeed in the assembly election has increased.
"The party will benefit the most in this region this year. Last time, we had got six and this time we'll get all the seven seats from Mehsana district," says BJP zonal media-in-charge Raju Bhatt.
Patel points out that Saurashtra region is dominated by businessmen most of whom have their own groups of supporters.
And in the given situation, they might cause some harm to the vote bank. "But a lot of people there are from northern part who are ardent BJP followers and the scene will balanced out to our favour," he claims.
The BJP has been boosted by the joining of former minister and influential Chaudhary community leader Vipul Chaudhary.
Chaudhary, who was considered a confidant of Union Textile minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, has a very strong hold over the Chaudhary community in Mehsana, which may not be in huge number but certainly can be decisive at times.
Bhatt says the northern belt is a comfortable zone for BJP as this time there are no rebels here. Agrees party district president Patel, but cautions "over-confidence can be dangerous. So we'll have to remain active throughout."
Moreover, this time there are no major issues that concern people directly and can bind them together.
Patel maintains since there is no clear major election issue for both Congress and BJP, the vote this time is polarised along caste lines.
Even in that scenario, BJP claims to have "played its card well".
Patel says development plank remains one of the major concerns and rejects that Hindutva is an issue this time.
"Hindutva is not an election issue with us though the party sticks to it as earlier," he said.
The party had managed six out of the seven seats in Mehsana district, about 70 kilometres from Ahmedabad.
The district is also the place that has given two chief ministers Narendra Modi [Images] and Vaghela.