Why Modi might not 'romp' home in Gujarat 2012

While Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi may have his eyes set on creating a new record by winning 151 of 182 seats in the upcoming state elections, the redrawing of constituencies might play pooper and prevent him from achieving that grand goal.

The redrawing of 60 constituencies out of 182 constituencies has meant that even the Chief Minister has had to study the composition of each of the constituencies to try and ensure they win them, Achyut Yagnik, an Ahmedabad based sociologist, says in an editorial in The Hindu.

Yagnik believes that observers may be underestimating the Congress party which has seen a resurgence in the last few months, a fact proven by its recent victory in the Mansa by-poll.

Will the redrawing of state constituencies and a resurgent Congress in Gujarat mean Narendra Modi has a tougher fight on his hands? AFP

The Congress has been more active with multiple campaigns and has also been in better touch with communities like tribals and other groups that feel marginalised by the state's aggressive industrialisation policy, he says.

And another problem may be Modi's personality, which while appreciated by some, has alienated many including some from his own camp.

Mr Modi's personality, specifically his authoritarian and autocratic streak, is the third factor that can foil not only his plan to capture 151 seats in the 2012 election but may even reduce the BJP's strength in the Gujarat Assembly. His style has seen some sangh parivar outfits, mainly the VHP and the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, distancing themselves from the present leadership.

However, even Yagnik acknowledges that while the Congress' gains may erode Modi's victory margin and may prevent him from from getting the same number of seats as the last time, they are unlikely to dethrone him.

He points out that Modi has managed to connect with the middle class Gujarati community unlike any other Congress leader and "he equates himself with Gujarat and any criticism against his actions is perceived as criticism of Gujarat and Gujaratis".

Read the full editorial here.

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