Opinion poll suggests neck-n-neck contest in Gujarat

New Delhi: Contrary to the tall demands of the BJP president Amit Shah that his party would easily bag 150 seats in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly in the ensuing elections, an opinion poll conducted by Lokniti-CSDS and released on Monday suggested that the saffron brigade would just manage to scrape past its main rival Congress to form the next government in the state.
According to the poll, both BJP and Congress would secure 43 per cent of votes each, with BJP possibly winning anything between 91 and 99 seats. On the other hand, the poll projected that Congress will be able to secure between 78 and 86 seats.
The latest poll projections are significant considering the fact that it is a noteworthy turnaround from the projections of an earlier poll by the same agency in August. At that time, it was projected that the BJP enjoyed a 30-point lead over the Congress. In August, the seat projections for BJP were 150 plus seats, while it was said that the Congress would struggle to cross the 30-seat mark.
In the 2012 polls, the BJP won 115 seats, while Congress could secure 61. Following the elections, Congress suffered successive jolts as its MLAs deserted the party from time to time, leaving its total tally in the current Gujarat Assembly to 43 legislators. On the other hand, the BJP has 116 MLAs, others 5 MLAs and 18 seats are vacant.
The Lokniti-CSDS poll commissioned by ABP News suggests that there is widespread resentment among the Gujarat electorate against demonetization as well as GST and the BJP’s projected vote share declined as the electioneering progressed. In fact, the modifications in the GST rates in November left the electorate more dissatisfied. Moreover, resentment among the farmers is also high and this is reportedly providing to Congress’ electioneering in the state, the poll said.
The survey also found that the popularity of the Patidar leader Hardik Patel declined to 58 per cent in November from 64 per cent in October. Notwithstanding these projections, the saffron party is said to be much ahead of its main rival in both in central Gujarat as well as Saurashtra – a Patidar stronghold.
According to the survey, it is likely that the Dalits and Patidars would vote for the Congress, while the BJP is likely to secure the votes of the upper castes and Kolis.
The poll suggests that different age groups would prefer to vote for different parties in the ensuing poll. While the younger voters aged between 18 and 29 years are likely to vote for BJP, those in the 30-39 years and 40-59 years age groups showed somewhat preference for Congress. Contrary to this, the elderly voters were found to split down the middle in the poll.


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