Once again, it was the urban voter who stood rock solid behind Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat assembly polls, giving the party 42 out of 48 seats from cities.Observers attribute ‘There Is No Alternative’ (TINA) factor behind BJP’s continued hold in cities as Congress does not have proper organisation and credible faces that could convert the dissent into votes. BJP won 12 of 16 seats in Ahmedabad city, all 12 seats in Surat, all six seats in Vadodara, all three seats in Rajkot, two each in Bhavnagar and Jamanagar, and one each in Mehsana, Navsari and Gandhinagar.Experts say there is practically no political opposition to BJP in cities of Gujarat and voters have no way to go. This is exactly what had happened in the elections to urban local bodies, which BJP had swept in early 2016, said Prof Dinesh Shukla a former Professor of Political Science at Gujarat University. “This has reinforced the fact that BJP is predominantly an urban party. Congress does not have an organisation that can even remotely compare with that of BJP. Sewa Dal is not active. While RSS has cadre that reaches out to voters. Results are also an indication that demonetization and GST were not such big issues that seemed at one point of time,” said Shukla.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress’ bitter-sweet defeat is story of missed opportunity BJP swept these seats, even as these areas are facing adverse effect of demonetization and GST, which has aggravated economic slowdown and stopped net job creation. Jayendra Tanna, President of Gujarat Traders’ Federation said that even the business community, which had suffered setbacks because of GST and demonetization, has voted for BJP and now the ball is in BJP’s court to ensure that interest of this section of society is taken care of. “Businessmen who had protested against the shortcoming and complicated compliance of GST, got swayed away by the cosmetic changes the government did in GST in the run up to the elections. They felt that the government is sensitive about their hardships. Now it is government’s turn to ensure that small businessmen do not suffer,” said Tanna.He feels that non-business community voted for BJP as it was influenced by the campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi rather than genuine issues that affect the masses. “These issues, that affect the masses on daily basis, were never debated during the campaign. They got swayed by a campaign that did not cater to their day-to-day requirements,” said Tanna.
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