The BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate appears likely to cruise to victory in home state.
Vadodara is all set to elect Narendra Modi, say voters and political experts across the Lok Sabha constituency.
The constituency voted heavily on Wednesday, with a record 72% turnout, up from 49% in 2009. The previous record turnout of 69.14% came in 1977, in the first elections after the Emergency was imposed.
"It is common knowledge that Vadodara — with its large Marathi and Gujarati population — has always been a BJP stronghold. This time too, the constituency is all set to elect Narendra Modi with a neat margin," said Priyamvadan Patel, a political analyst who has previously worked as the Gujarat state coordinator for the National Psephology Network.
Patel points out that though Rajkot, Surat and Ahmedabad have raced ahead in development, leaving Vadodara behind, the city still elects only BJP candidates. BJP's sitting MP Balu Shukla vacated the sea for Modi.
"This city has always been a BJP bastion. The only time a Congress candidate won here, it was by the only two-digit margin in Gujarat's history," said Patel, referring to the victory of Satyajit Gaekwad in 1996 by just 17 votes, the smallest ever victory margin in a Lok Sabha election.
Dr Ravi Jadhav, a retired scientist, said, "Modi has a huge following because of the massive development he has managed to bring about across the state. I have travelled across India and can vouch for the fact that infrastructural development in Gujarat is better than in any other state."
A Gujarati voter who did not want to be named said, "There is a huge pro-Modi wave here. I have voted for Modi because we are proud that our candidate will go on to become the Prime Minister of the country and extend our state's development to the rest of India."
However, Arjun Modhvadia, the Congress party's spokesperson denies the presence of a Modi wave. "There has been a surge of turnout all over India, not only in Vadodara. The BJP's seat share dipped in Gujarat's 2012 Assembly elections, as did its vote share. I am confident that their vote share will decline this time as well, and we are hopeful of victory by a small margin," Modhvadia said.
Political expert Priyamvadan Patel said the city administration's intensive campaign for voter awareness ensured heavy voting. He said the regional cultural organizations and civil society, business bodies and the District Collectorate took it upon themselves to reach out to voters.
"A massive campaign was conducted to draw voters who are already committed out to vote. A government initiative was transformed into a people's movement," said Patel.
Article Credits,Kirti Pandey,The sunday-guardian