As campaigning came to an end in Gujarat, Gujaratis in Mumbai said that permutations were running in all directions. While it was a prestige issue for the BJP, it was next to do or die for the Congress, said most Gujaratis who live in large numbers in in Mumbai and have always felt a direct connect for the state.A large part of both Maharashtra and Gujarat have been part of the Bombay presidency before the states were formed. Though a number of Gujaratis stayed and have voting rights here, the connect with their native place exists to date.”This time it is going to be tough,” said Ramesh Shah, a Kutchi who runs a ration shop in Dhobi Talao area. Shah had just come back to his shop after lunch, in which he saw Hardik Patel’s rally. Patel is the emerging face of the Patidar agitation, a community to which Sardar Patel belonged and played a decisive role in Gujarat. “Though my area has already voted, what I hear when I speak to my relatives is that it is a tough battle this time around,” said Shah.He is not the only one. After series of protests, a feeling that it will not be as easy has percolated in the community which has for the past 20 years voted BJP for power. “A fraction of voters may be divided but BJP is going to win,” said Hemant Joshi, a Chartered Accountant by profession who lives in Vile Parle.A follower of Swaminarayan sect which has openly thanked the BJP, Joshi’s relatives are in Ahmedabad. He added, “People are not going to take what Mani Shankar and others have said. They have insulted people. People have seen development and will vote accordingly.”Demonitization and GST are behind them now.”Both were needed,” said Lalit Jain, an owner of a utensil shop. On GST, which many from his industry had alleged stalled business, Jain said, “That is behind people now. A number of them feel Modi is the leader.”However, these are the very reasons that have put off some like Rajendra Dharod, a businessman. “Last year, the election centered around vikas (development). This time, both parties are not talking about it,” said Dharod who lives in Thane.
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