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Congress has a new slogan: 100 seats 100%
Sheela Bhatt in Ahmedabad |
December 10, 2002 19:42 IST
The mood at the Congress headquarters in Paldi, Ahmedabad is euphoric. According to an internal assessment, the party is set to win 100 seats in the Gujarat assembly election, voting for which will take place on Thursday.
For the next two days the party slogan is going to be: '100 seats 100%.'
The party's assessment suggests that the Congress would get more than one third of the seats in Saurashtra and Kutch.
The area-wise assessment is as follows: Out of 58 seats in Kutch and Saurashtra, the Congress will win 35. In Patan and Mehsana, howeevr, the pictures is not so rosy. This is mainly because the party's candidates here are perceived to be weak. Congress will be happy if it wins 5 of the 15 seats in the two districts.
In the border district of Banaskantha, the Congress is confident of winning 6 out of the 10 seats. In Ahmedabad the party feels it has an edge in 10 out of 19 seats. The party assessment is that it can win three out of eight seats in Sabarkantha, where communal polarisation is deep.
In Panchmahal and Dahod, the party's expectations are on the higher side. It claims that its main rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party, will be in for a surprise in these two district.
The Congress hopes to bag nine of the 13 seats in the two tribal-dominated districts. The party believes the tribals participated in the recent Hindu-Muslim riots out of econmonic reasons and that its traditional support base in adivasi areas is intact.
In Kheda and Anand districts the party expects to win 11 seats out of 17. In 32 assembly constituencies spread across in the area between Baroda and Navsari, Congress believes it has a distinct advantage in 18.
Of the remaining 10 seats, the party expects to win four.
According to a party leader, who is a member of a core group of Congress strategists, there is an undercurrent against the BJP's misgovernance, which has neutralised the advantage the saffronites gained in the immediate aftermath of the riots.
He said the Congress' multi-pronged strategy has stood it in good stead. The idea of restricting party president Sonia Gandhi to only major rallies in key centers paid off, he added, though these mega shows cost the Congress a few million rupees.
In urban areas, the party's campaign, which spoke of 'roti, kapada aur makaan', in contrast to BJP's 'muslims, masjid, Musharraf' line, went down well with the educated classes.
The party believes that it made good use of its own leaders and those belonging to its allies for campaigning in the state.
Congress spokesman Hasmukh Patel said: "BJP candidates have started attacking our people. That shows their desperation. In Sawli, Kadi, Kalol and Godhra, Congressmen have been beaten up.
"Congress is set to win and no one can stop us. Our win will be a tribute to a tolerant Gujarat," he said.