Gujarat Elections 2017: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is gearing up for the Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections, 2017 that are scheduled to take place in the month of December in two phases. The polls will be conducted to elect members of the 182 constituencies in Gujarat, and in order to attain majority, a party needs at least 92 seats. Back in 2012, while the now Prime Minister of India was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, BJP had won a total of 116 seats out of the total seats whereas the Indian National Congress (INC) had only 60 seats. After the party’s victory in Gujarat, Anandiben Patel was chosen as the successor of Narendra Modi. While BJP has been in power in Gujarat since 1998, the post-2014 general elections phase in Gujarat was not really smooth.
The party in the 2014 general elections won all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat and also got 60% of votes, the event that took place after it was not in its favour. In the mid-2015, an agitation demanding reservation in government jobs and education was started by Patidars, who are an influential social group in the state, according to a report by Live Mint. In response to the agitation, a counter mobilisation was initiated by the Kshatriyas under the banner of the OSS (Other Backward Classes, Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe) Ekta Manch. Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor had emerged as the leaders of these movements that year. In view of the then-upcoming local body polls scheduled to be held in December 2015, these movements were critical for BJP. In the December 2015, local body polls, Congress won 23 out of 31 Zila Panchayats seats and 113 of 193 Taluka Panchayats seats, reports Live Mint. Following this, a state-wide protest erupted after a Dalit youth was flogged in the Una District. As a result of the protests, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had to choose Vijay Rupani and replace Anandiben Patel as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in August 2016.
Regardless of what happened in the past, a survey conducted by the CSDS Lokniti showed that unlike BJP’s Vijay Rupani, the Congress Party does not have a popular face in Gujarat and may well be critically affected as far as its chances are concerned. This will give the Bharatiya Janata Party an upper hand. As reported by Live Mint, the finding of the Lokniti-Centre survey for the Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS) state the 2017 assembly elections might turn out to be BJP’s biggest ever victory in the state. The survey was conducted in mid-August among more than 4,000 randomly selected voters and it showed that BJP had a 30% point lead over Congress. Out of 10 respondants, close to six (59%) said that they would vote for BJP.