With mission Gujarat in mind, Amit Shah has set a target for party cadres to achieve in the upcoming assembly elections. Speaking to BJP workers in Junagadh, the party's National President has asked them to settle for nothing less than 150 seats. The target is the same as the one set for Karnataka as well.
"BJP has not lost in Gujarat since 1990. Do not settle for anything less than 150 seats," Amit Shah told cadres reminding them that the state has been BJP's bastion for more than two decades. The target coupled with anti-incumbency factor is a true challenge for the party in the 182-seat assembly. 150 is also the target set for Karnataka where the assembly strength stands at 225.
Same target for 225-seat Karnataka and 182-seat Gujarat
In Gujarat, the BJP and its allies currently have 121 of the 182 seats. In Karnataka, the BJP has 44 out of 225 seats. In 2002, BJP won 127 seats, the highest number of seats ever in Gujarat under the leadership of Narendra Modi. Amit Shah wants the party cadres to break all previous records that the party has to its credit.
The biggest challenge that the BJP faces in Gujarat today is anti-incumbency especially from the Patidar community from which Hardik Patel has emerged as a prominent face. Knowing fully well that the Congress is doing all it can to wean away the strong Patidar votes, the BJP is busy building a coalition of various social groups to take on the opposition.
While the Congress, banking on the Patel community's displeasure with the government, has planned to field at least one-third of its candidates from the community, the BJP is working its way around it. Acknowledging that Other Backward Classes constitutes about 40 percent of the state's population, the BJP is working with at least 150 castes under this category at constituency level.
In Karnataka, the BJP is working hard to shun its anti-Dalit image. While the anti-minority image is not something the party is working on currently, its state president B S Yeddyurappa is leading a campaign to connect with the people across the state. He is making it a point to stop at Dalit colonies and share food with families from SC/ST communities. More than making it a point to visit Dalit families, he is making it a point to ensure that his visits are in the public eye.