'Vote count down, but Modi will be CM' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Vote count down, but Modi will be CM'

Narendra Modi will win a third term as chief minister, say BJP leaders, even if with a reduced majority as predicted by exit polls, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2007 02:39 IST
Shekhar Iyer

Narendra Modi will win a third term as chief minister, say BJP leaders, even if with a reduced majority — a possibility predicted by exit polls.

Others, though, believe in Modi’s “historic” win vision.

“Modi will get a minimum of 100 seats and I am not fixing the upper limit, which could be anything more than we had in 2002,” said a senior BJP functionary who was involved in managing the elections.

Not wishing to be quoted, he said the exit polls were known to go off the mark as “you will always try to find what you seek”.

He disagreed that there was a rural-urban divide in Gujarat, which was the basis of most analysts to conclude that Modi would do badly in villages. “There is no such divide in Gujarat. Besides, the state has seen development over the years and the gap has narrowed. Forty per cent of Gujarat’s population lives in urban areas, and another 12 to 13 per cent in areas that have urban facilities. Modi has been very popular.”

“There were two Modis campaigning for the BJP this time. One was the ‘Hindutva’ Modi on whom the media kept the focus. The other was ‘Vikas or development-oriented’ Modi.”

According to him, Modi went to the polls on a development plank and took up Hindutva-related issues only after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s alleged reference to him as “the merchant of death” in her rallies.

“Even at places where he raised Hindutva, he spoke at length on development issues but the media reported only the former and ignored the latter.”

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said 63-64 per cent polling on Sunday surpassed the 2002 figures.

Prasad said the huge voter turnout showed that they wanted to counter an image of the state being projected by a section of the media and disprove its perception.

We have tried to secure a positive mandate this time as the last elections were overshadowed by the Godhra riots.”