Gujarat set for photo-finish polls, predicts survey


New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress are likely to have a close contest in the assembly polls in Gujarat next month, a survey predicted Wednesday.

Support TwoCircles

An opinion poll conducted by the CNN-IBN, the Indian Express and Divya Bhaskar, however, suggested that Chief Minister Narendra Modi was far ahead of other leaders, from his party as well as the Congress, in the popularity race. His performance rating has gone up by four percent since the 2002 elections.

The survey projected a 45 percent vote share for the BJP, 40 percent for the Congress and 15 percent for others in the elections scheduled to be held Dec 11 and 16.

The opinion poll, conducted in the first week of November, thus predicted a five percent decrease in the BJP’s vote share, one percent increase in that of the main opposition Congress and four percent up for others.

According to the projections, if the BJP gets a five percent lead in the vote share, it will get a clear majority in the 182-member assembly. But if the lead is only one percent, the seat position would be equal for both parties – 88 each leaving six for others.

While Modi has a clear lead in the race for the top post with 40 percent of the voters preferring him as the chief minister, his in-house rival Keshubhai Patel has backing from only four percent voters and Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela has support from nine percent voters.

However, the BJP is losing its ground in Saurashtra and north Gujarat and its lead in the central Gujarat was also decreasing, the survey said.

Interestingly, 72 percent of the respondents said there was a need to forget the communal violence of 2002 and move ahead.