Gujarat elections 2012: Fate of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh CM's at stake
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The manifestos of the two main rivals, BJP and Congress, are almost mirror images of each other with particular focus on basic institutions like health, education, housing, agriculture etc. If the BJP promises 50 lakh houses in 5 years, then the Congress promises 15 lakh – which is a 'result-oriented plan'.
In healthcare, Congress promises free life-saving medicines, free treatment for cancer, kidney and heart diseases. BJP will give free generic medicines and diagnostic services through Gujarat Medical Services Corporation.
The Congress will role out scholarships for the youth in education, and the BJP will support deserve students in higher studies. Both have special schemes to encourage education among girls and women.
And as campaigns go, while Modi has gotten personal with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul, national Congress leaders have refrained from bringing up 2002 – Sonia Gandhi had called Modi 'Maut ka Saudagar' in 2007, BUT his enemies have never stopped being stuck on 2002. Perhaps this is why the Congress has been unable to develop a proper political rhetoric that can counter a chief minister who has steadily secured the vote through a thriving economic model.
There is one thing niggling the BJP certainly, and that is the huge voter turnout, nearly 70 per cent. Everytime this has happened, a regime has changed. CPM lost Bengal when 84 per cent of the electorate came out to vote.
THE WOMEN WHO CHALLENGE MODI
Two women, both with the blessings of Modi-baiter Keshubhai Patel, will be putting up a symbolic fight to Modi. The two homemakers pitch-forked in the polls are IAS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife Shweta (Congress) who is directly taking on Modi in Maninagar and slain former BJP minister Haren Pandya's wife Jagruti (GPP, Ellisbridge seat).