Friday, August 31, 2012

Over 10 parties in poll fray to fight 182 Assembly seats

Gujarat is traditionally a two-party state. Other than BJP and Congress, hardly any other parties or Independent candidates have succeeded in last elections. But the upcoming state Assembly elections may witness some different trends as for the first time at least 10 parties are going to contest for all 182 seats, and considering the last two elections, number of Independent candidates who usually play the game spoilers’ role are also likely to be highest ever in numbers.
Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s number one political opponent and former CM Keshubhai Patel has declared to form a new third front to contest the Assembly elections this time. He may join other Modi-baiters such as Gordhan Zadaphia’s MahaGujarat Janta Party (MJP). But it is sure that a party under his leadership will contest the 182 seats of the state.
Former Uttar Pradesh (UP) CM Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), UP CM Akhilesh Yadav’s and his father Mulayam Yadav’s Samajvadi Party, and Modi’s key critic in the NDA and JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar are also likely to put their candidates for all the Assembly seats.
Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD, Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP, CPM, CPI(M), Shiv Sena, Jan Sangh and NCP are also likely to contest the upcoming Assembly elections on all the seats.
In 1998, a total of 19 political parties and 415 independent candidates contested the Assembly election. In 2002, 20 parties and 344 Independent candidates fought the election, while in 2007, 39 political parties and 480 Independent candidates were in the fray.
This time, it is likely to cross the 40 political parties and at least 500 plus Independent candidates mark.
In 1998, 2002 and 2007, total vote share of parties other than BJP, Congress and Independents were 20.34%, 10.87% and 12.88% respectively.
The vote share ofIndependent candidates has steadily increased over the last three elections. It was 5.24%, 5.72% and 6.61% respectively. It is likely to increase in the upcoming Assembly elections too. In 1998, three Independent candidates had won, while 2002 and 2007 two Independent candidates have won.
MJP president Gordhan Zadaphia said, “Our candidates will contest on all the seats. Compared to 2007, when we started our party, today we are in stronger position. The third front which is likely to be announced by Keshubhai will also play a very significant role in the elections.”
BSP state president Bachubhai Patel said, “In the last Assembly elections, our candidates contested on 166 seats, while this time we will fight on all 182 seats. In 2007, our total vote share increased significantly compared to the 2002 elections and this time we are sure to open our account in the state with impressive numbers.” BSP got 0.08%, 0.32% and 2.62% vote share in 1998, 2002 and 2007 respectively.
The state SP general secretary Nilesh Trivedi, said, “Compared to 2002 and 2007 elections, our party structure is in a much stronger position now. We have a strong presence in all 26 districts. Our national leadership is giving full support and this time we will contest on all the seats. Like in Centre, we are confident to be king-maker. Our top leaders like Mulyamji, Akhileshji and Azam Khan will also visit Gujarat ahead of the elections.”
Going by data of 2009 Lok Sabha elections in state, observers feel that the results of upcoming Assembly polls would be very uncertain because the winning margins will be low.
In the last Lok Sabha elections, in Sankheda, the winning margin was just 39, Dabhaoi (750), Jambusar (175), Vav (804). Many seats were below the 1,000 votes margin. These seats can change the decisive picture in the upcoming Assembly elections.
According to political observers, both BJP and Congress are giving high-importance to the other parties and the Independent candidates as in last many elections several key leaders of both the parties had faced the hit.
Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela lost in 2009 Lok Sabha elections by around 2,000 votes only because of some Independent candidates.