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Feeling the pulse of Gujarat

December 8, 2007
The magic of elections in India is that issues not highlighted at normal times often take centrestage and even marginal people are able to break their silence. Elections in Gujarat are no less different.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi is seeking power claiming success in developmental works while the Opposition is vocal in questioning his claims. To understand the political mood of the state, travelled from Gandhidham, Mangrol, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Halvad, Dhangdhra, Virumgaum, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Ankleshwar upto Khavda, a village bordering Pakistan.

The first aspect that becomes evident is absence of the fear factor amongst Hindus, which was witnessed post 2002 Godhra incident. But in Ahmedabad and a couple of other cities, the underlying communal emotion is as receptive as in 2002. Bharatiya Janata Party's attempts to tap this sentiment in society are on in full swing.

Just two days before the first phase of election, Modi's charisma is at work in urban Gujarat, while in villages and small towns Congress is taking away a lot of shine from the Modi image and giving him a tough fight, without any help from the Gandhi family or secular forces.

Image: Both BJP and Congress have their task cut out and are going all out to woo voters.
Reportage: Sheela Bhatt

Photographs: N V Reuben

Also read: Why Modi will score a landslide win again

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