With Gujarat set to vote tomorrow, Congress eyes gains in BJP fortress

Congress leader Ahmed Patel exuded confidence that his party would win 10 to 15 seats

Modi campaign Patan twitter Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at a rally in Patan | Twitter handle of Narendra Modi

Campaigning for all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat ended on Sunday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a public meeting in Patan, North Gujarat, and BJP national president Amit Shah holding a roadshow in his constituency, Gandhinagar.

The ruling BJP in Gujarat had swept all the 26 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, this time, the opposition Congress is likely to win a couple of seats from the regions of North Gujarat, Saurashtra, Central Gujarat and South Gujarat.

Except for one seat—Bharuch—where Chhotu Vasava of the Bharatiya Tribal Party is contesting, the remaining 25 seats are to see a direct fight between the arch-rival national parties. In Banaskantha seat, a candidate from the Thakor Sena of former Congress leader Alpesh Thakor is also contesting.

Both BJP and Congress were dependent on their national leaders for campaigning. Modi addressed seven rallies in Gujarat, and Shah held roadshows in his constituency apart from addressing public meetings in other constituencies.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed five public meetings. On the last day on Sunday, while the BJP saw Modi and Shah addressing the gatherings, for the Congress, it was the turn of one of its star campaigners Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. Actress Ameesha Patel also campaigned for the party.

While the BJP has claimed that it would win all the 26 seats, on Saturday, Congress leader Ahmed Patel exuded confidence that his party would win 10 to 15 seats.

The BJP has heavily banked on what it terms as achievements of the NDA at the Centre, the attack on Balakot and Modi's emotional appeal. The Congress, on the other hand, has tried to exploit the anger among the farmers and small businessmen.

Shah, former Congress ministers Bharatsinh Solanki and Tushar Chaudhary and, opposition leader in state assembly Paresh Dhanani are among the key politicians in the fray.

Congress leader Hardik Patel, who is on the party's start campaigners list, addressed more than 50 meetings/rallies in Gujarat. He was also provided a helicopter.