With intense poll campaign ahead of the upcoming Nagpur Municipal Corporation elections ending on Sunday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had pitched high hopes of winning by clear majority on a high turnout. Addressing several public meetings, over the past few days, BJP’s star campaigner, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had repeatedly stressed on ensuring a high voter turnout. The Union Minister asserted that BJP will clearly be winning if the total voter turnout is 75 percent.
Ahead of the elections, BJP has been facing major challenges especially because of the large-scale rebellion it has faced from its party cadre. And as the party had exepelled over 64 rebels earlier this month, a few of them, including RSS leaders Shripad Risaldar and Vishakha Joshi had taken to media to criticise the safron party. Moreover, expelled Bajrang Dal leaders sloganeered outside Gadkari’s house, during the ticket distributions.
However, Gadkari had taken initiatives to placate the discontent party members by visiting their houses or by calling them at his place. Even RSS ideologue MG Vadiya had confirmed that no RSS member was ever been directed to only vote for BJP. According to a report by The Indian Express, Vadiya was quoted saying, “They are free to take their own call and vote for anyone they deem fit.”
While both major parties, BJP and Congress have their dedicated voters in the city, BJP, after rift with the RSS cadres, which is a major part of its vote bank, will have to hope for a high voter turnout. But things might turn favourable for the Congress party with the voter count between 50 and 55 per cent.
The Indian Express quoted Jayprakash Gupta, who left Congress to join the BJP in 2014, saying,”I have seen election management closely in both the Congress and the BJP. In the Congress, it is dependent entirely on leaders, whereas the BJP draws its strength from the cadre. In Nagpur, Gadkari and Fadnavis are tall leaders. The booth management by Gadkari is intensive.”