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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

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On the streets, it’s business as usual
Prasad Nichenametla & Abhijit Patnaik, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, December 20, 2012
First Published: 00:29 IST(20/12/2012)
Last Updated: 00:41 IST(20/12/2012)

On the eve of the declaration of the results, the streets of Ahmedabad show no sign of excitement.

No animated discussion can be heard at tea stalls. Even at the landmark Swati restaurant, one hardly hears any mention of “Congress” or “BJP”. On the roads, few policemen are in sight. It is business as usual.

But for Gujarat, this is normal. Here, business often comes before politics. “How does it matter who wins?” said Kishore Rajput, a vendor in Maninagar, from where CM Narendra Modi is seeking reelection.

It takes a bit of persuasion to get anyone to discuss the election. But most seem confident that Modi will return to power with a better margin. After all, he has taken good care of them. As proof, Suresh Thakkar, 61, a local businessman, points to the good roads and proper drinking water supply.

The indifference is particularly surprising among the Muslims. But that is because many Muslims feel equally betrayed by the Congress.

“If we suffer, it’s because we are poor, not because we are Hindu or Muslim. For me, what matters is who helps us,” said Saddam Hussain, a 22-year-old unemployed youth in Khanpur who has voted for the BJP.

Still, some hope the Congress will do better. “They will improve their tally by at least 10 seats,” said Shabir Hussain, Saddam’s neighbour.


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