Modi pushed to rethink strategy

Post-delimitation and the Keshubhai Patel factors have forced Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to restrategise his process of selecting candidates for the coming Assembly polls. For the first time under the saffrom the party’s rule in the state, the chief minister has been compelled to work on a panel of candidates rather than dictating names of candidates to the central leadership. These panels are being formed mostly for constituencies where minority voters have increased and for those Assembly seats where former BJP leader Keshubhai Patel’s Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) is posing a threat to Mr Modi’s poll prospects. There are around 100 such Assembly seats for which panel of candidates are being formed. These polls are considered crucial for Mr Modi, an aspirant for the Prime Minister’s post. Speculation is rife that the Gujarat poll results will decide whether Mr Modi would be brought at the national political scene or not.
Interestingly, Mr Modi, who is used to run the show single-handedly in the state, has invited most of the central leaders to his ongoing Vivekanand Yuva Vikas Yatra. Senior BJP leaders are also scheduled to address public rallies in the state as part of the poll campaign. While the state unit in Himachal Pradesh, another BJP-ruled state where polls are scheduled for next month, has released its first list of candidates, Mr Modi and his team are busy screening panel of candidates.
These Assembly polls in the state are first after the delimitation exercise. As a result the electoral profile in some of the constituencies has changed drastically. Some seats, which were earlier considered BJP strongholds, have now considerable number of minority voters. As a result, the party will have to field candidates from the minority community. However, Mr Modi and his party is aware of the fact that there are hardly any prominent leaders from the minority community within the saffron party.
Perhaps this is the reason why Mr Modi is making it sure that the Muslim candidates, who had won local bodies polls on BJP tickets, are seen on the BJP’s platform whenever Mr Modi is addressing a public gathering.
In the last Assembly polls, the BJP had won 10 seats less than the 2002 Assembly polls. Of the 182 total Assembly seats, the BJP had won 117 seats in 2007.

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