He may not be a leader of the Patel community and his government may not be loved for its performance in Saurashtra region, but there’s no doubt that Narendra Modi and BJP have nothing to worry about in the results of the first phase of polling in the state.
The survey conducted in Gujarat by CSDS for CNN-IBN and The Week covered only the first phase of polling which covered the Saurashtra region, where Keshubhai Patel’s Gujarat Parivartan Party was expected to dent the Chief Minister’s victory margin this time round.
However, the predicted rout is unlikely to take place. The BJP seems set to be the party with the largest vote share among the parties and if anything the GPP is likely to eat into the voteshare of the Congress.
45 percent of the voteshare is expected to be garnered by the BJP, while the Congress is expected to manage 33 percent and the GPP only 12 percent.
There’s no surprise in who the favourite candidate to be the Chief Minister is. Narendra Modi seems to be the overwhelming favourite with Keshubhai trailing him by a wide margin. Even in the Patel community, which Keshubhai counts as his votebank, the preference remains Modi.
Most voters seem to have picked candidates based on their party and despite being displeased with the government’s performance over some issues they don’t mind backing the BJP.
The poll which gathered voters responses before and after the elections in the first phase found that in the opinions gathered before and after casting the ballot most voters felt that the incumbent government deserved another chance.
Most voters, 50 percent, preferred to vote on the basis of the party they backed but the second largest chunk of voters, 41 percent, chose to vote depending on who the candidate from the constituency was. And this was strongest among voters who preferred to vote for the Congress, showing that the party still has its share of dedicated voters even if they don’t have the numbers.
Voters from Saurashtra, though accused of being influenced by caste and reputation, say that a large majority of them cast their vote based on the work done by the candidate in their constituencies. While the Patel community still seems to favour candidates from their community, the larger group of them prefers candidates who perform rather than those who seek merely to capitalise on their origins.
Given the potential success in the region, Modi can hope for a victory this time round as well given the second phase of polling mainly covered BJP strongholds in the state. But can he manage a victory of the sorts that will catapult him into national politics in time for 2014?