Gujarat Election 2022: 10 factors to play key role as EC announces poll schedule
Gujarat has one of the highest electricity tariffs in the country. People are looking forward to offers from the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress of giving 300 units free per month.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday (November 3) announced the polling dates for Gujarat elections and said the polls in the state will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5 with the counting of votes on December 8 along with that of Himachal Pradesh.
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said of the total 182 assembly seats in Gujarat, voting for 89 seats will be held on December 1 and the remaining 93 seats on December 5. He said the term of the Gujarat assembly ends on February 18, 2023 and the elections have been announced 110 days in advance.
With this, here are 10 factors that are likely to play key role in Gujarat assembly elections 2022:
1. Narendra Modi as trump card: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a trump card in the form of the prime minister, who was chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014. It has been eight years since he left the chair but his sway over followers in his home state is still intact.
2. Morbi bridge collapse: On October 30, Gujarat witnessed a tragic incident in which a bridge collapsed and claimed as many as 135 lives in Morbi. This incident has brought the nexus between administration and rich businessmen to the fore. The issue is likely to dominate the minds of people when they go to vote to select the next government.
3. Anti-incumbency: The 24-year rule of the BJP has led to growing dissatisfaction in sections of society, said political observers. People believe that inflation, unemployment and basic issues concerning life have remained unresolved even after so many years of BJP rule.
4. Remission of sentence of Bilkis Bano case convicts: Gujarat is considered the Sangh Parivar's Hindutva laboratory. The impact of the remission of sentences of those convicted in the Bilkis Bano gangrape and murder case will play out differently for the majority and minority communities. Muslims are demanding justice for Bilkis Bano while a section of Hindus would like to ignore the issue.
5. Paper leaks and postponement of government recruitment exams: Frequent paper leaks and postponement of government recruitment exams have dashed the hopes of youths working hard to get government jobs, leading to much resentment.
6. Lack of basic education and health facilities in remote areas: If school classrooms are constructed in remote rural areas, there is a dearth of teachers. And if teachers are recruited, there is a lack of classrooms affecting education. The lack of primary health centres and doctors also adversely affects health services in rural pockets.
7. Farmer issues: Farmers are agitating in several parts of the state as they have not been given compensation for crop loss due to excess rains in the last two years.
8. Bad roads: Gujarat was earlier known for its good roads. However, in the last five to six years, the state government and municipal corporations have not been able to construct good roads or maintain old roads. Complaints of pothole ridden roads are common from all over the state.
9. High electricity rates: Gujarat has one of the highest electricity tariffs in the country. People are looking forward to offers from the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress of giving 300 units free per month. The Southern Gujarat Chambers of Commerce and Industry recently demanded reduction in commercial electricity tariff, saying they have to pay Rs 7.50 per unit while their industry counterparts in Maharashtra and Telangana have to pay Rs 4 per unit.
10. Land acquisition: Dissatisfaction among farmers and landowners whose lands are being acquired for various government projects. Farmers, for instance, opposed land acquisition for high-speed bullet train projects between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. They also opposed land acquisition for the expressway project between Vadodara and Mumbai.
(With inputs from PTI)