Gujarat elections: From door to door, Congress takes off from BJP chief Amit Shah’s bastion

Gujarat Elections: In 2012, Amit Shah won from Naranpura by over 60,000 votes, polling nearly 70% of the vote

Written by Parimal A Dabhi | Ahmedabad | Updated: November 15, 2017 10:05 am
Ashok Gehlot, Naranpura, Amit Shah, Gujarat elections Gujarat elections: Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot greets a voter in Naranpura of Ahmedabad Tuesday. (Source: Express photo/Javed Raja)

The Gujarat Congress launched its door-to-door election campaign Tuesday, choosing Naranpura of Ahmedabad, the same constituency where BJP president Amit Shah had launched the Gujarat unit’s door-to-door campaign a week ago. Naranpura is a bastion not only of the BJP but also of Shah, who had won from here in 2012 before moving on to Rajya Sabha. It is from Naranpura where Shah had begun his career, as a booth-level party worker under the guidance of Narendra Modi.

State Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki and the party’s Gujarat affairs-in-charge Ashok Gehlot, former Rajasthan chief minister jointly launched the Congress campaign. As Gehlot and Solanki split into two teams and went from door to door, not many people seen coming outdoors to greet the campaigners, Congress workers then brought a portable speaker that Solanki used at some places to draw people’s attention.

On November 7, Shah had received huge receptions during the BJP campaign. When The Indian Express asked a Congress worker accompanying Solanki about the difference in response, the worker laughed. “It is enough that our campaign has been launched from here and the party president has come. All of us know it is a BJP bastion.”

Shah’s pitch that day development work by the BJP in the last two decades, mainly under Modi’s leadership. He distributed a letter by Prime Minister Modi, asking all voters of Gujarat to vote for the BJP by giving precedence to development over dynastic politics, communalism, casteism etc. Shah distributed a pamphlet with figures of various development parameters before and after 1995, highlighting differences between Congress and BJP regimes.

Ashok Gehlot, Naranpura, Amit Shah, Gujarat elections Gujarat elections: Amit Shah surrounded by supporters in Naranpura on November 7. (Express Photo/Javed Raja)

Solanki, on the other hand, distributed a pamphlet containing promises to the people if the Congress comes to power. These include unemployment allowance to educated youths, loan waiver for farmers, cheaper power, cheaper petrol and diesel, lower housing tax, affordable and quality education, and a house for every homeless woman.

Solanki and Gehlot warmed up with a visit to Kankariya Hanuman temple near Bhyangdev locality before starting to meet voters one-on-one. The two leaders were joined by 50-100 party workers at Sola Housing, an area with a number of housing colonies. Later, Solanki visited a temple of Lord Shankar, Panchdev Mahadev Mandir.

For the last couple of years, the Congress has been adopting what is being seen as soft Hindutva to win the confidence of Patidars and a significant section of OBC communities. Such temple visits are being seen as a step in that direction.

At one place, Solanki was confronted by a Patidar woman who identified herself as Jayshreeben Patel. She raised civic issues and complained that politicians come only for votes during elections and ignore their issues afterwards. Solanki heard her out and moved on, telling her that they would keep her issues in mind. Solanki also visited shops on Bhyangdev-Sola Road seeking votes.

Solanki was accompanied by Nitin Patel, who is seen as the probable Congress candidate for Naranpura. Asked about the long gap since the Congress had last gone from door to door in Naranpura, Nitin Patel said, “Yes, all this is being done after a long time. The Congress’s festoons must have been put up here [in Naranpura] after 22 years.”

Naranpura, a seat formed after delimitation in 2008, has had only one assembly election so far — in 2012, the one Shah one. It has been a designated assembly segment of Gandhinagar for the last two Lok Sabha elections.

The constituency of 2.75 lakh voters, predominantly Hindu, is dominated by urban middle-class Patidars, OBCs and Jain communities. Dalits too form part of the electorate. The population has migrated mainly from the old walled city of Ahmedabad following regular communal riots there in the late 1980s.

In 2012, Shah won from Naranpura by over 60,000 votes, polling nearly 70% of the vote. The BJP has not yet announced Shah’s successor for the constituency; names doing the round include his close aides Ajay Patel who is the chairman of Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, and current Ahmedabad mayor Gautam Shah.

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    Nov 15, 2017 at 5:16 pm
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    (0)(0)
    Reply
    1. N
      naren
      Nov 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm
      AFTER MAKING 16000 PERCENT PROFIT STILL AMIT SHAH'S SON JAY SHAH CLOSED HIS S COMPANY JUST 15 DAYS BEFORE DEMONETISATION. INFINITE SUCH CASES THAT ARE HIDDEN. THIS IS CALLED ORGANISED LOOT. DEMONITISATION IS STAGE MANAGED TO MAKE BJP'S BLACK MONEY INTO WHITE. ALSO AMBANI ADANIS WELL INFORMED SO THAT THEY DIDN'T GET AFFECT. POOR AAM ADMI LIKE US GOT PUNISHED FOR NOTHING. OUR CHILDREN MARRIAGE WENT WITH TURBULANCE. POOR LOST THEIR LIVES. START-UP CLOSED. LOT LOST THEIR EMPLOYMENT JOB. WHAT ELSE YOU WANT ARUN JAITLEY? YOU RUINED OUR LIFE, DREAM, FAMILY, ETC. STOP IT. NO MORE. LET THE PEOPLE OF GUJARAT HP SHOULD TEACH THESE GUYS A LESSON. IF WE DON'T DO IT NOW, THEY WILL MAKE INDIA AND DIVIDE INDIA. THEY WILL HAVE FUN ON OUR BLOOD RIVER. THEY (BJP) DON’T CARE ABOUT AAM ADMI. ONLY THEY ARE HUNGRYOF POWER AND MONEY. COME ON FOLKS, PLEASE BE AWARE OF THEIR GAME PLAN AND TEACH THEM A LESSON.
      (19)(2)
      Reply
      1. i
        indian(ncr)
        Nov 15, 2017 at 3:56 pm
        Sir why not you file a pe ion in supreme court so that under supreme court direction an inquiry can be setup like Manmohan Led UPA regime loot in common wealth game,2G,3G,Coalgate,Devas deal etc this list of corruption is very long for Nehru family members and other congress leaders. Who cares for you kind of Congress supporters as majority of people of country supported Modi's demonetization decision even hardships of cash. Its proof is the result of assembly election results of UP,Uttarakhand,Manipur,Goa etc.
        (1)(10)
        Reply
      2. C
        Chambal Valley
        Nov 15, 2017 at 11:43 am
        Congress in Shah's chambal valley....
        (28)(0)
        Reply
        1. S
          sahil
          Nov 15, 2017 at 9:33 am
          Whatever happens shah remains a corrupt extortionist, riot organisation, fake encounter and surveillance specialist and he is a non elected hoisted corrupt nobody
          (44)(20)
          Reply
          1. P
            Pradeep Raghavan
            Nov 15, 2017 at 11:00 am
            TRUE! He is the biggest goon of Gujarat. Everyone in Gujarat knows it.
            (35)(3)
            Reply
            1. B
              Bhaskar
              Nov 15, 2017 at 2:39 pm
              Still people will vote him because he is from upper caste
              (5)(1)
          2. D
            Dipak
            Nov 15, 2017 at 7:07 am
            Congress I'd doomed in Gujarat and Himachal Prdesh.
            (24)(52)
            Reply
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