It looks like the race in Gujarat is a one-horse affair, but the Congress might just emerge the dark horse in Himachal Pradesh.
Mondays' exit polls predict a comfortable victory for Narendra Modi in Gujarat, and he looks poised to to score a hattrick as chief minister. In Himachal, however, the Congress is likely to come back to power in a close contest.
Counting of votes begins sharp at 8 am on Thursday, December 20 and the trends would be prominent before noon.
At least four exit polls – the Headlines Today-Org survey, the Timesnow-C oter survey, ABP-News-AC Nielsen and another by Today’s Chanakya – predicted a clear win for Narendra Modi and the BJP. In fact, these polls suggest Modi will better his 2007 performance and get somewhere around 120-plus seats. The polls peg less than 50 seats in the Congress' kitty. The national party had got 59 in 2007 – another poll, this time by CNN-IBN predicted much the same today.
Most surveys have written off the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) floated by Keshubhai Patel, saying it would not make much difference.
THE CHIEF MINISTER?
All surveys, including one by CSDS for CNN-IBN and The Week, were unequivocal that Modi was the clear choice for chief ministership of Gujarat. CSDS said 41 per cent of the people preferred Modi as CM, leaving others like Keshubhai Patel (8 per cent), Shankersinh Vaghela (8 per cent) and Shakti Singh Gohil (4 per cent) far behind. Even the Patel community opted for Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat, according to the survey.
What has worked for Narendra Modi? His development agenda, which analysts believe has turned anti-incumbency on its head.
The manifestos of the two main rivals, BJP and Congress, are almost mirror images of each other with particular focus on basic institutions like health, education, housing, agriculture etc. If the BJP promises 50 lakh houses in 5 years, then the Congress promises 15 lakh – which is a 'result-oriented plan'.
In healthcare, Congress promises free life-saving medicines, free treatment for cancer, kidney and heart diseases. BJP will give free generic medicines and diagnostic services through Gujarat Medical Services Corporation.
The Congress will role out scholarships for the youth in education, and the BJP