Gujarat elections: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will launch two separate marches in Gujarat next month to cover the state before the December voting to elect a new government in the western state that has been ruled by the saffron outfit for almost two decades.
The fortnight-long yatra, a mass outreach programme, will begin from the home town of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first home minister, Karamsad in Anand district and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace Porbandar, a coastal city. Gandhi and Patel are the tallest figures from the state.
Starting on October 1 and 2, the yatra will cover most parts of the state before ending in a workers’ conference at Gandhi Nagar on October 16. October 2 is also the birth anniversary of Gandhi.
“It will highlight the success of the Gujarat government and the reason for the BJP’s continuity in power,” a party general secretary said.
The party launched its campaign for the Gujarat assembly election this year with Shah’s town hall programme at Ahmedabad on September 10.
The conference of “panna pramukhs” or those is in-charge of one page of a voter list comprising 40-50 voters will addressed by party chief Amit Shah on September 16. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be in Gujarat on September 17 to attend the Narmada festival, which marks the completion of Sardar Sarovar Dam project.
Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel and president of the state unit Jitu Vagahni will lead these yatras and senior BJP leaders from the state will join the event in between.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s foundation stone laying of bullet trains between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will also help the BJP with its ‘development narrative’ to the electorate.
Adivasi Vikas Gaurav Yatra
In February, the BJP had taken out a 10-day long Adivasi Vikas Gaurav Yatra from tribal dominated areas between Navsari in south Gujarat to Banaskantha in north Gujarat.
Gujarat has been under BJP rule since March 1998 Modi heading the government for 13 years of this period and it won 115 out of 182 assembly seats in 2012.
The party has, however, faced two major setbacks in the last two years—one after the protests by upper caste Patel community, who have been seeking reservation, and the other by Dalits on issues of atrocities and discrimination faced by the community.
The party suffered a major electoral loss in the local body elections in rural areas in December 2015 after the Patels started a protest movement under the leadership of Hardik Patel against the ruling party.