BJP targets Gopal Italia to split anti-incumbency vote, play Hindu card

First the Aam Aadmi Party, Isudan Gadhvi, then Arvind Kejriwal, Rajendra Pal Gautam and now the party’s state convener Gopal Italia are on the hit list of the Bharatiya Janata Party. For the third consecutive day, the BJP has pulled out Italia’s old video clips to taint him as anti- Hindu, and ungentlemanly.

From two video clips it sounds that Gopal Italia was once influenced by rationalist thinking.

Why, and how will it politically benefit the ruling party? IANS spoke to the common people on whether the BJP’s strategy is working on the ground or not, and they simplified the strategy and its likely outcome.

An accountant from Visnagar, Bharat Patel calls it a political gimmick that will give dual benefits to the BJP. His understanding is that the more Gopal Italia remains in the news for negative reasons and a hype is created around him, it will attract voters and his party will divide the anti-incumbency votes, protecting the ruling party’s prospects.

The second benefit the BJP will get is that since the AAP is in the fray, a chunk of young BJP voters have started shifting to the AAP. Once the video clip of Italia is out, in which he is making derogatory remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these voters will return to the BJP fold. Not only that, die hard Modi fans and supporters will work for the BJP with more enthusiasm to teach a lesson to Italia and the AAP.

In some pockets in central Gujarat the AAP is doing better than the last time, so to attract the attention of voters, the BJP is playing the emotional card, it is playing the victim card, which will garner sympathy for the party. But the AAP and its leader Gopal Italia will eat into the Congress votes on a very large scale, sabotaging the Congress prospects, is the observation of Rajesh Patel, a teacher from Mahisagar district.

During the 2015 Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti movement, Gopal Italia had done a lot of ground work in the Surendranagar and Saurashtra regions, he has a strong grassroot connection. If the AAP has become a third force in the state politics, credit should be given to Gopal Italia. The BJP first targeted Isudan Gadhvi by filing a criminal complaint against him and now Italia, because the BJP fears that the AAP’s rise will damage its prospects, feels Ratansinh Dodiya, a farmer from Surendranagar district.

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