Gujarat election 2012: Deeply divided by religion, Godhra braces for 2nd phase poll

Godhra

"In the wake of rioting that had ensued, Godhra was under curfew for nearly six months," says Pradeep Soni, a teacher.

In 1990, four Hindu teachers of Saifia Madarsa in Vorwad area of Godhra town were killed by Muslims, he says, adding, "the mistrust between the two communities runs very deep and Modi's goodwill mission cannot bridge the divide."

Modi, who has spent quite some time in Godhra running RSS 'Shakhas' as a 'Pracharak', has made several overtures to Muslims.

Chiragbhai, a local journalist, is quite sceptical about Modi's gestures to woo Muslim votes.

"Irrespective of what the Chief Minister does and what local Muslim leaders say, they will never vote for BJP", he says.

BJP, which had bagged the seat only only twice in 1995 and 2002, when communal sentiments had run high, is banking on the 47,000 odd traditional Brahmin and Bania votes, besides a section of 25,000 Patel and OBC votes.

Patels have traditionally voted for BJP but the presence of Keshubhai Patel's GPP candidate, an OBC, and Rameshbhai Patel, who himself belongs to the community, is likely to see a three-way split in their votes this time.

Apart from looking up to Muslims, Kshatriyas, the community its candidate Raulji belongs to, and a section of OBC, Congress is also relying on the solid support of 15,000-odd Dalit votes to see its candidate through.

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