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Survey predicts close finish in Gujarat polls
December 06, 2002 19:36 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress are likely to get between 85 and 95 seats in the 182-member Gujarat assembly, a survey commissioned by The Week magazine says.
The survey, conducted by TN Sofres Mode, says, "The BJP's swing from the last Lok Sabha elections is negative more among Muslims and forward castes, and in urban Gujarat."
While BJP may get 48.9 per cent votes, it is likely to be followed by the Congress with 48.1 per cent, it says.
The survey is based on interviews with 3,204 voters across 24 constituencies in Gujarat between November 16 and 24. It also has reactions from eight constituencies -- Bhuj, Godhra, The Dangs, Ellisbridge, Sabarmati, Bharuch, Rajkot-II and Baroda.
In the last assembly polls in the state, BJP had got 117 seats while 53 went to the Congress. In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP's voter share was 52.5 per cent as compared to Congress' 45.4 per cent.
The survey says Chief Minister Narendra Modi's 'Gaurav Yatra' has had no effect on 34 per cent of the people while 32 per cent feel that Gujarat's pride has been restored.
Fifty-two per cent feel Modi should become chief minister. However, sixty per cent of the Muslims prefer Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela for CM's post, it says.
Regarding burning issues before the electorate, it says 24 per cent put communal harmony at the top, while 20 per cent feel that controlling inflation is important.
On the culprits behind the Godhra incident in February, the survey says 56 per cent Muslims and 22 per cent Hindus believe that it was the handiwork of "criminals at the station".
While 14 per cent term the performance of the National Democratic Alliance government "very good" and 37 per cent as "good", 35 per cent Muslims and 19 per cent Hindus are of the view that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's influence is "decreasing" in the BJP. Forty-six per cent Muslims and 22 per cent Hindus are "unhappy" with Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani "gaining importance", it says.
Another survey, sponsored by India Today-Aaj Tak and conducted by ORG-MARG, gives the BJP 100-110 seats and the Congress 70-80 seats.
Last month, it had projected 120-130 seats for the BJP and 45-55 for the Congress.
The survey indicates that while the BJP looks set for another victory in Gujarat, the scale may not be as spectacular.
Indeed, it says, the situation is broadly comparable to the 1998 outcome had the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Party, led by Shankarsinh Vaghela, fought together.
Going by the survey, the BJP's advantage stems from three factors -� Modi's increasing popularity, the ideological agenda set by him in the backdrop of Godhra and Akshardham and a "feeble" anti-incumbency factor.
In fact, Modi's popularity in Gujarat narrowly exceeds that of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, it says.
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