Post bypolls defeat: Will BJP be able to defang Congress in Gujarat?

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel
The ruling BJP which recently suffered a jolt in Assembly bypolls in four States including Bihar, will have to face litmus-test in Gujarat where nine Assembly seats will go to bypolls next month. The by-polls to nine Assembly seats in the State will be held on September 13. Replicating the Lok Sabha poll performance in the State will be a challenge for the party especially at a time when it is left without a leader matching charismatic appeals of Narendra Modi, and at a time when it has mostly fielded first-timers.

By-elections are scheduled to be held in the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat and nine Assembly constituencies in Gujarat on September 13, and BJP has given ticket to first-timers on all seats barring Khambhalia.

Three months after its spectacular show in Lok Sabha polls, the BJP on Monday received a jolt in the Assembly by-elections, suffering a 4-6 defeat at the hands of the RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance in Bihar and yielding two strongholds to Congress in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. In Punjab, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress won one seat each. Out of the 18 seats in four states for which bypolls were held on August 21, Congress and its allies won 10 while seven went to BJP and one to its ally SAD. In the wake of the bypolls defeat, the task will be difficult for the newly appointed Chief Minister Anandiben Patel to accomplish Congress-free Gujarat.

By-poll results gave psychological boost to the Congress

The Congress which has got psychological boost from the by-elections in Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab this week will surely give a tough fight to the BJP. Though, the Congress is in weak position in the State, but now it will be looking to make gains, hoping to capitalise on Narendra Modi's shift to the centre.

Lesser known faces will be challenge for BJP

This election, the party does not have likes of Narendra Modi or Amit Shah who are known as crowd-pullers. It is well known fact that banking on Modi's image, the party won the last two Assembly elections in the State. Party's State chief Ranchoddas Faldu and vice-president Kaushik Patel are no mass leaders, each having lost the last time. It will put a challenge for the BJP to hold back all nine Assembly seats.

Congress will be hoping to capitalise on Narendra Modi’s shift to the centre.

The BJP has 115 seats while the Congress has only 55 MLAs in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly.

Anandiben asks party cadre to pull up the socks

Addressing a public gathering recently, CM Anandiben called for Congress mukth Gujarat. She said the upcoming bypolls are challenge for the party and that the party cadre will have to give 100 per cent result to prove the Prime Minister that they can match his record.

The BJP has set up a three-member observers' committee for each seat as well as a people's grievance cell.

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