Vadodara seems cakewalk for Modi
Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency seems a cakewalk for Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi even as the Congress has feilded its election strategist Madhusudan Mistry who guided the party to the victory in Karnataka Assembly elections last year.
Mr Modi, who is contesting its debut Lok Sabha polls from Vadodara, is all set to win the seat even as the contest here was only a matter of victory margin when polling will be held on April 30 for 26 Lok Sabha seats in the BJP-ruled state.
Besides his development plank, Mr Modi is also likely to get huge margin of votes riding on Gujarati pride that a Gujarati person is the BJP's PM nominee.
Besides Vadodara, Mr Modi is also contesting the general elections from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
After entering the Gujarat Assembly for the first time in his political career from Rajkot in 2001 and then moving to Maninagar in Ahmedabad, Mr Modi chose Vadodara for his maiden bid to enter the Lower House of Parliament.
Mr Modi, who is said to have a knack for deploying symbols to put his message across, is believed to have chosen Vadodara due to its geographical location, and also the resemblence of the city-name's first letter 'V' with Varanasi, the another constituency he is contesting from.
The BJP was so confident of winning the seat that Mr Modi has not yet started his campaign in Vadodara even as he is touring the whole nation.
The BJP's PM nominee had filed his nomination papers from the constituency on April 9 carrying out an impressive road show which was attended by thousands of people of the city.
The BJP activists led by Vadodara constituency incharge Saurabh Patel were campaigning for Mr Modi. Mr Patel is a close aide of the Gujarat Chief Minister.
Earlier, the Congress had decided to field Narendra Rawat, a local light-weight, who was later replaced by Madhusudan Mistry, sitting Rajya Sabha MP who has considerable influence among the tribals of central and north Gujarat.
Mr Mistry is considered very close to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and trying to pose a tough challenge to the Gujarat strongman in Vadodara.
Mr Mistry had won 1998 and 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Sabarkantha but he was defeated in 2009 by the BJP.
According to the political observers here, though Mr Mistry is working hard to provide a tough fight, but the fact that Mr Modi is his party's Prime Ministerial candidate, the BJP is counting on the euphoria over a Gujarati being in race for the top job of the country aided by the development plank.
Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency has 16,37,575 voters. The Central Gujarat constituency has the highest number of the OBC, SC and ST voters (4,47,551), followed by Kshatriya (2,33,205), Brahmins (1,93,625), Patels (1,69,517) and Muslims (1,58,505).
The constituency is the BJP stronghold since 1998. It lost the 1996 election by the margin of only 17 votes. Televison star Dipika Chikhalia, who portrayed Seeta in the serial 'Ramayana', became the first woman to win the constituency on a BJP ticket in 1991.
According to observers the major problem plaguing the people's life in this 'Sanskar nagari', a city known for its intellectual and cultural credentials, is pollution.
The city is surrounded by industries and the problem of chemical waste has remained unaddressed for last many years.
The Vishwamitri river has contaminated water. Unemployement is another issue bothering the youth of the constituency as many small and medium industries have shut the shops in last few years as pointed out by a local voter.
Vadodara has seven Assembly seats-- Raopura, Manjalpur, Sayajiganj, Akota, Savli, Vadodara City and Vaghodia.
In the 2012 Assembly polls, the BJP won six seats-- Vaghodia, Vadodara City, Sayajigunj, Akota, Raopura and Manjalpur.
Only Savli was won by an independent.
(Posted on 27-04-2014)