There is some bad news for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat.
If the Assembly elections were held today in Gujarat, BJP would get only 60 to 65 seats out of 182, a survey of RSS-BJP survey revealed.
The survey paints a grim picture for the BJP in 2017 Assembly polls with heavy losses in 18 Assembly segments due to Patidar and Dalit agitations.
The survey, carried out over a period of two weeks, was conducted after Dalit agitation broke out to protest flogging of Dalit youths over skinning of dead cow in Una. It was done using ground-level pracharaks of the RSS who are trained to take feedback from people.
The survey also points out Dalits gravitating away from the saffron party.
Reports say top RSS leadership convinced Chief Minister Anandiben Patel to step down by showing her the findings of the survey. For the past two months, there were unmistakable signs pointing to her exit.
The survey says even tribals are gearing up for launching own agitation seeking government jobs or land allotments.
An earlier report by the RSS pointed out that the BJP lost as many as 104 seats in the December 2015 Panchayat elections due to escalating Patidar agitation.
While the party managed to absorb the impact of Patidar agitation in urban pockets, it gave up much ground in rural pockets during the Panchayat elections. What set panic bells ringing in the RSS was Muslims coming out and supporting the Dalit cause at common platforms across Gujarat.
“Sangh consider Dalits as part of the Hindus and will never allow polarisation within Hindus. Earlier, Dalits were a committed votebank of the Congress and the Sangh succeeded to bring them within its fold after arduous efforts of the last two decades,” said an RSS source.
Going into damage control mode, it was an obvious step to let Anandiben relinquish her post and then take corrective measures in the second phase.
The Sangh will also conduct first-of-its-kind Samajik Sadbhavna Samelan (Social Harmony Conclave) at Una, the epicenter of the latest Dalit uprising, to consolidate Dalit votes.
Meanwhile, there has been a growing chorus from Gujarat MLAs and cadres to give the reins of the state to BJP chief Amit Shah. The RSS also considers Shah to be best suited for the job and suspects that other aspirants may not be able to swing the BJP’s dipping fortunes in Modi’s home state ahead of assembly elections due in late 2017.