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Modi playful, Vaghela cool, Muslims nervous in Guj

On the eve of counting of votes in Gujarat, Modi looked confident while Vaghela was positive. However, Muslims were edgy.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2002 00:35 IST

The countdown for the Gujarat electorate's verdict in theDecember 12 poll has begun. The drums would have begun to beat in one camp; gloom would have descended over the other. On the eve of counting, this is what the key players in the battle for Gujarat were doing.

NARENDRA MODI

Woke at 6, and after the daily puja and medical check-up, sat speaking on the phone to scores of partymen. At 11, gave away for auction gifts received during the Gaurav Yatra. The money will be spent on the girl child's education, he said. Joked with reporters, and when asked how many seats the BJP would get, said, "A 182", probably meaning all.

Visited villages near Gandhinagar in the afternoon, and in the evening, went for the wedding of a handicapped person at the Ahmedabad YMCA. Did not go to a temple.

Stakes: House or bust

Satta rate: 90 p, favourite

Last word: Confident

SHANKARSINHVAGHELA

Woke half an hour after Modi; like him, did a puja. Had no appointments, and stayed at home all day. Spoke to Congressmen across the state, asking for "ground level inputs", wanting to know "the reality". Wouldn't commit on seats expected, but said Congress will "gain 80 per cent of the seats in Saurashtra".

Like Modi, made no temple visits, but may begin Sunday with one. Party has erected a victory podium in anticipation of triumph.

Stakes: Glory dream

Satta rate: Rs 1.10, trailing

Last word: Positive

THE MUSLIMS

Perhaps the people to whom Sunday's results matter the most. The community is silent; almost every member is nervous and fearful. The BJP's return might trigger reprisals for voting against the party; a Congress win could provoke nettled Hindu fanatics. It's a no win situation.

Stakes: Survival

Satta rate: Fingers crossed

Last word: Edgy, tense

First Published: Dec 15, 2002 00:35 IST