The BJP and Congress appear to be poised for a neck-and-neck finish in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections, the last round of the ABP-CSDS poll has found.
The third round of the pre-election tracker poll was conducted in the last week of November, among 3,655 voters in 50 constituencies, concluding that the rivals would engage in a tight contest with both poling 43 percent votes each.
Watch The Quint’s chat with Sanjay Kumar, Director of CSDS
This indicates a four-point decrease for the BJP and a two-point increase for the Congress from the second round of the pre-election survey, which was held at the end of October.
The drastic change in votes polled by the Congress indicate a massive turnaround, particularly in comparison to the party’s votes from the first round held in early August, where it had polled a mere 29 percent of votes, trailing by 30 points behind the saffron party.
The Congress lost by three points in the Saurashtra region, when compared to the October poll. However, it gained in the central and south Gujarat seats by a considerable margin. Meanwhile, the BJP has maintained a lead in the Saurashtra and north Gujarat regions, while the baton seems to be fast slipping from their grasp in central and south Gujarat.
The upper castes in Gujarat remain firmly rooted with the BJP, although the margin appears to be decreasing with time. The Patels, who were earlier in BJP’s camp, have shifted to the Congress with a negligible margin of votes. The Koli vote bank, which had briefly deviated to the Congress, is back with the BJP.
The biggest shift in camps is that of the Adivasis, who have shifted by a huge margin from the BJP to the Congress. The Muslims and Dalits, meanwhile, have remained in the Congress camp all along, with a marginal shift in votes. Overall, the Congress has now gained the votes of five communities, as opposed to BJP’s three.
Who Will the Traders Vote For?
A big chunk of the Gujarati voters are from the trader community. The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) seems to have benefitted the Congress, who have gained big favours with the community, or so the tracker indicates.
While the previous survey in October showed the BJP leading the Congress by four points, the final round has shown a reversal with the Congress polling 43 percent against the BJP’s 40 percent.
Should BJP Get Another Chance?
The anti-incumbency factor seems to grow stronger as the polls near. The reigning sentiment at the beginning of August, ie, was a strong 50 percent in favour of the incumbent Vijay Rupani government. However, as the months progressed, the anti-incumbency factor seems to have gained a foothold, with the latest round showing a mere 35 percent in favour of the government.
Meanwhile, 39 percent do not want the BJP government to come back to power.
Satisfaction With the Vijay Rupani Government
Taking off from the anti-incumbency factor, 45 percent of the voting Gujaratis do not want the Vijay Rupani government to come back to power. This number is a sharp increase from August’s 27 percent.
On the same note, the current government’s appeal has reduced by 16 points since the first round of polls.
Where Narendra Modi’s appeal has decreased over the months, Rahul Gandhi has garnered more trust among Gujarat’s voters, the ABP-CSDS poll indicates.
As far as local youth leaders Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani are concerned, both have sustained the popularity they gained since October-end. This comes in the backdrop of Patel’s allegedly ‘scandalous CD’ and Mevani’s announcement to contest the elections as an Independent.
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