BJP banking on Congress 'chaos', AAP 'self-goal' in Gujarat poll : The Tribune India

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BJP banking on Congress 'chaos', AAP 'self-goal' in Gujarat poll

Observers believe poll strategy may boomerang in Saurashtra region

BJP banking on Congress 'chaos', AAP 'self-goal' in Gujarat poll

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi waves at supporters during the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in Bellary, Karnataka. PTI



Tribune News Service

Vibha Sharma

New Delhi, October 14

The BJP appears to be banking on “disarray” in the Congress and AAP’s “self-goals” to push it past the finishing line in the poll-bound Gujarat where it suspects “some understanding” between the two opposition parties in the fray. As the BJP goes after AAP’s Gujarat convener Gopal Italia for allegedly insulting PM Modi’s mother, party leaders say while Congress is working silently in rural areas and AAP is concentrating in urban areas.

While observers believe the move to target Italia may boomerang against the BJP in Saurashtra given his Patidar credentials, the saffron party today again attacked the AAP leader after he was purportedly heard mocking PM’s mother in a video.

Asserting that people of the state would make AAP pay, Union Minister Smriti Irani said, “If you think abusing the Prime Minister’s mother will help you gain political popularity in Gujarat, you are mistaken. And for that mistake, Gujarat and Gujaratis will make you pay political price in the forthcoming elections.”

As the BJP IT cell digs out Italia’s old tweets to take on Kejriwal, observers see it as a sign of “unease” in the saffron party ahead of the polls.

However, the observers say that the Congress may be the main target, but AAP, which was earlier being called BJP’s “B-team”, is also on the radar. “It is concentrating on ‘anti-BJP, anti-Congress’ vote-bank so that AAP does not gain,” they say.

In the last polls, the BJP tally had come down to 99 seats from 115 while Congress’ increased to 77 from 61 in the 182-member Assembly. Unlike 2017, the Patidar quota is no longer an issue but the BJP is facing a massive anti-incumbency laced with farmers’ distress, unemployment and inflation.

While BJP has a core dedicated vote bank, Congress too has its areas of influence, mostly in Saurashtra. “The BJP is highlighting Italia’s videos helps it believes that abusing Prime Minister is like abusing lakhs of voters who voted and supported him. Whether that works with Italia’s community remains to be seen,” observers say.

With Italia claiming that the BJP is targeting him as he is from the Patidar community, Irani accused him of “hiding behind new excuses which showed that AAP will play community and gender cards for its political ends”.


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