In the Pune civic polls, Kakade had predicted BJP would win 92 seats — the party won 98 seats

MP says survey in state next door points to anti-incumbency playing huge factor; fellow BJP members rubbish prediction

Issuing an alarm bell for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from within its own ranks in the closely observed Gujarat elections, the party’s Member of Parliament (MP) from Pune, Sanjay Kakade, has predicted defeat for his party in the neighbouring state. According to him, the predictions he received via a survey he conducted have revealed a shocking situation for the party. In fact, he has said that even an alliance may not help the BJP come back to power in this scenario.

Voting has ended in the second phase of Gujarat’s Assembly elections, with most exit polls predicting a pro-BJP situation in the state. Polling was held for 93 Assembly seats in 14 districts in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led an aggressive election campaign for the BJP in recent months.

Gujarat has 182 assembly seats. The BJP has been in power in the state for the last 22 years. The Congress is also looking forward to making a comeback in Gujarat, with party president-elect Rahul Gandhi leading their campaign for the polls. And, while BJP leaders across the country have expressed confidence of coming back to power once again, this MP from Pune thinks otherwise.

Speaking to Mirror about this survey and his predictions, Kakade said, “This time round, the situation is grave for the BJP. It has been in power for the longest time and there is a possibility that anti-incumbency will affect us. Apart from this, the fact is that the Muslim population is unhappy with us to a large extent. Since Modi became PM, he could not concentrate on state issues the way he used to when he was the chief minister. In the last three years, there has been no suitable candidate to replace him as CM. The way Hardik Patel was recently tackled by releasing a ‘sex CD’ of his was also a mistake. Development could not become an agenda throughout the campaign. Considering all these factors, the people I sent to Gujarat to conduct a survey gave me the feedback that BJP will not perform the way it did in the last election.”

During the civic polls in Pune, Kakade had predicted that BJP would win 92 seats — this was proved to be almost completely accurate, with the party winning 98 seats. Against this backdrop, Kakade claimed his Gujarat survey has been on similar lines. But, while he has stated that BJP might not reach the magic figure of victories, other party leaders are rubbishing his claims, calling them a flawed personal opinion.

Reacting to Kakade’s latest declaration, MP Amar Sable asserted to Mirror, “People are very happy with how the party has been performing. Our PM is a son of the soil, and the people of Gujarat are very proud of him. We also have a strong party cadre in the state, which was mobilised for the elections. I have campaigned in Gujarat and seen that its residents are happy with the work done by the BJP government. Development in Gujarat is excellent. So, we have no doubt our party will win this election. There is no reason for anti-incumbency to come into play. What Kakade said might have been his personal opinion. But, it doesn’t matter, since I have been on ground and seen the situation in Gujarat. I know that the people are happy with us.”

█ The situation is grave for BJP this time. Since Modi became PM, he could not concentrate on state issues the way he did as CM. The people I sent to Gujarat for a survey said BJP will not perform like in the last elections

— Sanjay Kakade, BJP MP