Amit Shah went for door-to-door campaigning in the tribal belt of Chota Udepur in central Gujarat.
CHOTA UDEPUR, GUJARAT:Workers of the BJP will fan out in 48,000 booths to reach the maximum number of people before assembly elections Gujarat, as the party seeks to retain the state for the sixth time. The target is to win 150 of Gujarat’s 182 seats, said BJP chief Amit Shah on Wednesday, offering a simple formula.
“We won 120 seats when Narendrabhai was Chief Minister. Now when he is Prime Minister, we should win 150,” Mr Shah said.
The BJP chief was in Devaliya village in the tribal belt of Chota Udepur in central Gujarat and covered three booths in a door to door campaign. The area is seen as a Congress stronghold and Mr Shah told party workers, “Whatever seats we win or lose, we must not lose from Devaliya…I have myself come amidst you to motivate you.”
With elections now six months away, the BJP strategically chose the tribal area for the party president to kick off the booth management campaign. The powerful Patels who have traditionally supported the BJP are miffed with the ruling party over their demand for reservation in government jobs and colleges not being met. As it looks to consolidate the support if other communities, the 15 per cent tribal vote can be a crucial addition.
The tribal vote matters in 27 of the state’s constituencies.
As he has done in recent tours of other states, Amit Shah had lunch at the home of a resident of Devaliya village Popat Vasava, whose family was ecstatic at getting to host the BJP president. Their home has a brand new toilet added recently right at the entrance and a permanent gas connection.
Food for the BJP chief was cooked on a gas stove and not a chullal or coal stove. Mr Vasava denied that these were recent gifts linked to the VIP visit. “We got the toilet made about a month back from government grant. And we got the gas connection under the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category,” he said.
Gujarat is the home state of both Mr Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was Chief Minister for 13 years before he moved to Delhi after the BJP won the 2014 national elections. The party has since won a series of state elections and has started an early campaign to also retain Gujarat. Apart from the BJP’s traditional rival in the state, the Congress, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party too is contesting in the state.