NEW DELHI: It is not caste but business-centric development that will be the deciding factor in Gujarat, feels BJP and hence is focussing on portraying the “hundred percent” delivery image of PM Narendra Modi and BJP. In the last one week, Congress V-P Rahul Gandhi has reached out to caste leaders and efforts are on to build an anti- BJP front. But this caste narrative, according to BJP leaders, won’t work, as they believe the Gujarati voter is largely business-centric.
“The voting data of Gujarat unlike UP has no fixed castelines in the last few years. Except Dalits and Muslims and a smattering of voters from all other castes, the 30-35% vote share that Congress has had in the past few years has no fixed template. Gujarat is not UP where clearly there are distinctive voting patterns among different castes. There is no such caste template in Gujarat. Voters across castes have been unified by their business interests,” a BJP leader said.
What, however, is important according to the party leaders is assuaging the fears of traders about GST and informing them about its benefit their businesses. What the party is primarily trying to do, apart from strengthening its booth management, is setting the development narrative in the campaign.
PM Narendra Modi visiting the state over six times in the last few months solely to launch projects that will add business value. From sharing the interest burden of farmer loans, finishing the Narmada project, providing complete electrification, ensuring drinking water in households and also a range of projects to help the neo-middle class which the PM as the Gujarat CM claims has been created by the decade-long development in the state, the party wants to showcase itself as a party that delivered all its promises.
Any covert or open support to leaders representing three different caste groups Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit activist Jignesh Mewani, and Alpesh Thakor, an OBC leader at the helm of the Gujarat Kshatriya-Thakor Sena will feed on the social incompatibility of the communities vying for the same quota pie making it politically beneficial for the BJP, party leaders said.
“With around 50% electorate comprising OBCs and Patels, it is important to note that SC has already said that quota cannot exceed 50% and hence one is pitted over the other,” a party leader said.
(This has not been edited by gmedia.news and is from Economic Times.)