New Delhi: Gujarat is a bastion of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has ruled the state since 1995 and won all the seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. While the Congress has influence in some parts, lack of jobs is likely to influence the electoral outcome in 2019. Mint looks at the poll math in Gujarat Elections 2019.

Is Gujarat a model state?

Gujarat is one of the most industrialized states in India and has one of the best infrastructure, including roads, ports and uninterrupted power supply. It is home to some of India’s finest educational institutions. However, in a country where each state has its own social ethos and priorities, a cut-and-paste model does not work. Prime Minister Narendra Modi might have brought rapid industrialization and a unique system of governance to the state, but it has always been a better governed unit and a pro-business state. The state has a long way to go on several social indicators, including tolerance for Muslims.

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What is the political situation in the state?

The politics in Gujarat is much easier to decode than in states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Caste plays a role in the western Indian state but not in a very potent or vicious manner. Overtly caste-based politics was not prominent until 2016, when Patidars, one of the most dominant castes in the state, took to the streets demanding reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. However, some of the political parties in the state have a pronounced anti-Muslim vein running through them. The two dominant parties are the Congress and the BJP, the latter has been in power since 1995.

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All 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat will go to the polls in the third phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
All 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat will go to the polls in the third phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections. (Mint)

New Delhi: Gujarat is a bastion of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has ruled the state since 1995 and won all the seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. While the Congress has influence in some parts, lack of jobs is likely to influence the electoral outcome in 2019. Mint looks at the poll math in Gujarat Elections 2019.

Is Gujarat a model state?

Gujarat is one of the most industrialized states in India and has one of the best infrastructure, including roads, ports and uninterrupted power supply. It is home to some of India’s finest educational institutions. However, in a country where each state has its own social ethos and priorities, a cut-and-paste model does not work. Prime Minister Narendra Modi might have brought rapid industrialization and a unique system of governance to the state, but it has always been a better governed unit and a pro-business state. The state has a long way to go on several social indicators, including tolerance for Muslims.

ALSO READ | A Statue of Unity in a Gujarat deeply divided

What is the political situation in the state?

The politics in Gujarat is much easier to decode than in states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Caste plays a role in the western Indian state but not in a very potent or vicious manner. Overtly caste-based politics was not prominent until 2016, when Patidars, one of the most dominant castes in the state, took to the streets demanding reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. However, some of the political parties in the state have a pronounced anti-Muslim vein running through them. The two dominant parties are the Congress and the BJP, the latter has been in power since 1995.

ALSO READ | On the Mahatma trail: A famous town gets ready to vote


What is the rural and urban divide?

People living in rural areas make up 57.4% of the population, while urban residents account for 42.6%. Rural and urban issues compete for dominance, making forecast of polls tough.

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What are the key issues in the state?

Gujarat is India’s top cotton-growing state and is also a fertile ground for growing groundnut and cumin. The Saurashtra region grows most of these crops. This time, the demand for jobs among the youth may overshadow farmers’ desire for better cotton prices as the outlook for the latter looks bullish. The Patidars’ demand for reservation had become a major issue during the 2017 Gujarat elections. It is not a major talking point this time, but can still have an impact on the elections.

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Which are the BJP and Congress strongholds?

The BJP is strong in central and south Gujarat, while the Congress has influence in Saurashtra and Kutch. BJP has made inroads into the voter base of the Congress that includes the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). But it is on a sticky wicket in north Gujarat, the hotbed of the Patidar stir, and would hope for a helping hand from Other Backward Class (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor, who quit the Congress this month. He is yet to reveal his plans. Two seats are reserved for SC candidates and four for ST nominees.

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