Gujarat Election 2019: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party BJP is locked in a tough battle with arch rival Congress in his home state Gujarat. Though the state gave all 26 seats to the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha election, the Congress party has put up a tough fight in 2017 assembly elections. This time round, Gujarat voters are least interested in election rhetoric around Pakistan and Rafale deal. They are more concerned about issues like traffic jams and noise pollution in the cities and availability of water, affordable farm loans and subsidies in rural areas.
The issue of jobs seem to top the voters mind state after state across the country. In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat, maximum number of voters (43%) have rated employment to be the most important election issue, followed by availability of drinking water (37%) and better healthcare facilities (30%) to be the third most important issue in this Lok Sabha election, according to a survey conducted by election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
In the eyes of voters, the performance of BJP government led by Vijay Rupani is below average on all three most important election issues in Gujarat – employment, drinking water and healthcare. However, Vijay Rupani seems to have done much better than several of his counterparts as average score for his work performance is over 2.5 on a scale of 5 in terms of solving the three most important priorities of voters in his state.
According to the ADR survey, the performance of Vijay Rupani government is still below the average mark of 3 on a scale of 5 but it is still better than performance of Yogi Adityanath who scored average 2.42 marks in solving top three priorities of voters in his state Uttar Pradesh, followed by N Chandrababu Naidu who scored (2.28) and K Chandrasekhar Rao (1.96).
Issues for Gujarat’s urban voters
Like urban voters in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the real issues affecting the lives of people are the most important issues for voters in Gujarat. The ADR survey shows that they are not swayed by election rhetoric but they are more concerned about issue of jobs, traffic jams, noise and water pollution in cities.
In cities of Gujarat, the top most priority for 49% respondents was freedom from traffic jams, that speaks volumes about the state of urban infrastructure in the state and the country. The second most important issue for urban voters in the state was noise pollution (47%), followed by better employment opportunities (45%).
The performance of BJP government in the state was below average in solving the top three issues for voters. Urban voters gave just 2.23 marks on a scale of 5 to Vijay Rupani government in terms of solving the problem of traffic jams in the state. In case of solving the problem of noise pollution in cities, the performance of Vijay Rupani government was rated 2.2 and for creating employment opportunities (2.31), below average on all three counts.
Vijay Rupani was handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP President Amit Shah to lead the BJP government in Gujarat following the departure of Anandi Ben Patel in August 2016.
What rural voters in Gujarat want
While urban voters in the state want freedom from traffic jams, noise pollution and better employment opportunities, availability of water for agriculture remains top priority for rural voters (46%) in the state, followed by affordable agricultural loan (45%) and subsidy for seeds and fertilisers (44%).
It is clear that all three issues – water for farming, affordable farm credit and subsidised seeds and fertilisers, are equally important for rural voters as there is a marginal difference of just one per cent in the number of respondents who have rated them top three most important issues.
The performance of Vijay Rupani government was below par on all three important issues for rural voters as they awarded just 2.43 marks on a scale of 5 to the BJP government for providing water for agriculture, followed by affordable farm loan (2.37) and subsidised seeds and fertilisers (2.15).
Opposition Congress has stepped up its efforts to wrest some seats in the state from the BJP in a direct contest. Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi will address several public rallies in the border state next week but the issue of leadership will also play a crucial role as Prime Minister Narenra Modi is Gujarat tallest leaders since Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
All 25 seats in the states will go to poll on April 23 in third phase. The ADR survey was conducted across all 25 Lok Sabha seats, covering 13,000 respondents.