Here’s what Gujarat assembly elections 2017 mean for Narendra Modi

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The Gujarat Assembly elections stand as a litmus test for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three years in office. Gujarat model was used as a constant rhetoric while campaigning for the 2014 general election and it helped the party to stand out as a winner with a majority.

The then Chief Minister Narendra Modi actively campaigned for the elections and boasted of the development model followed by the State government under his leadership.

Even though all the exit polls have indicated a win for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been in power in the state since 1995, the final declaration of Narendra Modi’s win in his own home turf holds more significance.

Modi’s performance in these elections is likely to reflect the sentiments of people towards the state’s growth model as well as Modi government’s work and reforms at the Centre. Most importantly, it would map people’s reactions regarding two major reforms — GST and demonetisation — that affected every citizen, especially the businessmen community.

Narendra Modi remains in the limelight as the whole BJP campaign during the current state elections was led by the Prime Minister where other leaders including Chief Minister Vijay Rupani only made minor appearances. BJP party president Amit Shah had earlier told that PM Modi will be the face of the party for the 2017 Gujarat elections.

While the results would show whether or not Modi continues to hold enough popularity in the state, it would determine the party’s future at the Centre as we close in on 2019 general elections. Modi had won three assembly elections in Gujarat before he swore in as the Prime Minister in 2014.

The state elections, including Himachal Pradesh polls, will lay the groundwork for Narendra Modi to continue as the country’s prime minister and more importantly, for BJP to win 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

During these elections, the saffron party has been facing tough challenges after nearly two decades of winning streak. With Rahul Gandhi swearing in as the new Congress President replacing his mother Sonia Gandhi and Pathidar leader Hardik Patel gaining prominence, the results would determine if the Saffron party still a similar popularity in Gujarat as in the past.

The party has set a target to win 150 out of the 182 seats in Gujarat to prove their popularity in the state, however, most of the exit polls gave BJP 110-120 seats in Gujarat, short of the BJP President Amit Shah’s stated target.

The party had won 115 seats in the 2012 Assembly elections. Today’s Chanakya, which was the only agency to correctly predict the 2014 Lok Sabha elections results, said the BJP would win 135 seats in Gujarat.