Gujarat’s young turks Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani on Wednesday predicted doom for the ruling BJP in the Gujarat Assembly polls while the BJP said it was confident of bagging a three-fourth majority.
The Congress, the main opposition, said it was determined to come to power in a state where power has eluded it for over two decades.
“We are getting a three-fourths majority, that is 150-plus seats,” Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told reporters minutes after the Election Commission announced a two-phase polling in the state on December 9 and 14.
“We are fighting the polls on the development plank and will speak only on nationalism without resorting to casteism or any such thing,” he said.
He cited poll surveys to stress that the atmosphere was positive for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“So far three surveys show that the BJP is winning. Just like in Uttar Pradesh when nobody could predict that we will get 325 seats, the BJP will bag more than 150 seats out of 182 in Gujarat,” Rupani said.
He said the Congress was finished and its leadership had “surrendered to three youngsters – Hardik, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani. The way Congress is running after them shows that they have lost”.
Congress leader Narendra Rawat said his assessment was completely different.
“The Congress is on the road to victory. All sections of the society are angry and want to throw out the BJP government. Their time is up. They tried to delay the announcement of election dates but that is not going to help,” he said.
Patidar leader Hardik Patel, OBC leader Alpesh Thakore and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani ridiculed the BJP’s claims.
“I am on a 10-day campaign of which first three days have been successful. We will ensure the BJP loses and have asked the Congress to clarify its stand on reservation to Patels,” the firebrand Hardik Patel said.
“If they agree to our demands and explain us how they will do it, we will consider supporting the opposition,” he said.
Mevani asserted: “The election dates are bad news for the BJP. We will gift them blood pressure tablets. They are going to need it aplenty. Now it is our time to do the batting. We were eagerly waiting for the dates.
“We will not let BJP enter our community areas. We will do the maximum campaigning against the BJP and the way they have harassed people of Gujarat for the last 22 years,” he said.
Calling BJP’s development claim “fake”, Mevani said it worked only for the interests of a handful of industrialists.
“There is not a single section or class that is happy with the BJP. They also do not keep promises to any community or class. They promised a lot to victims of Una Dalit flogging but nothing was done. They are not even ready to talk to us. What kind of a party is this?”
Thakore, who formally joined the Congress on Monday, said the Congress would win 125 seats. “I wish the BJP all luck if they can stop this.”
He said the Congress was prepared like never before. “Our booth level management this time is extremely methodical and there is a strong wave of change in Gujarat,” he said.