Ahead of the vote count in the bitterly fought Gujarat Assembly polls on Monday, both the ruling BJP and the main opposition Congress expressed confidence of forming a government in the state.
“This will be a sixth consecutive and a historic win for the BJP. The BJP has been on the ascendant for many years due to its positive and performance oriented politics under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” BJP spokesman G.V.L Narsimha Rao told IANS on Sunday.
He said the election results would once again prove that “people can’t be swayed by negative propaganda and bogies of intolerance”.
Although the exit polls have predicted an outright victory for the BJP, the Congress remains hopeful of snatching the state after 22 long years.
Former Union Minister and Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia expressed confidence that the Congress would win as the people of Gujarat have voted for change.
“The people wish to change the government. The Congress put forward its vision for each section of the society including youths, women, farmers and labourers,” he told reporters in Guna, his parliamentary constituency in Madhya Pradesh.
He also showered praise on Congress President Rahul Gandhi for working hard in Gujarat.
Counting of votes for all 182 assembly seats in Gujarat will take place on Monday. Over 2.97 crore voters cast votes in the two-phase election which took place on December 9 and 14.
Over 25 lakh more voters voted this year compared to 2012.
The Congress formed a caste combination on the lines of KHAM, which stands for Kshatriya, Harijan (Dalits), Adivasi (tribals) and Muslim, the theory propounded by former Chief Minister Madhavsinh Solanki. It fetched the Congress 149 of the 182 seats in 1980.
Joining hands with Patidar Anamat Aandolan Samiti (PASS) convener Hardik Patel, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani seems to have worked in favour of the Congress. Madhavsinh Solanki’s son Bharatsinh Solanki is the state Congress chief.
The Patidar movement, counter-protests by a section of the OBCs and agitations by Dalits against atrocities brought caste to the fore. The Congress used the opportunity to try reap a harvest.
To counter the Congress, the BJP raked up issues of Ram Temple at Ayodhya and the “neech” remark made by now suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer and accused Pakistan of colluding with the Congress to help it win in the state.
Since Modi became Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, the BJP’s seats and vote percentage has reduced in each assembly election.
In 2002, the BJP won 127 seats and got 44.81 per cent vote share, the highest ever while the Congress won 53 seats and got 35.28 per cent votes. In 2007, the BJP won 117 seats and 49 per cent vote share while the Congress won 59 seats with 39.63 per cent votes.
In 2012, the BJP got 115 seats with 48.30 per cent while the Congress won 61 seats with 40.59 per cent.