How Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi Ran the Gujarat Marathon | CNN-News18 13-12-2017

As the campaigning in Gujarat comes to a close, this was one of the most unpredictably tight contests we have seen in a long while. Congress, decimated in Uttar Pradesh by the BJP, rose from nowhere and made BJP work for every vote on its own turf.

Very few experts may have foreseen that the most powerful political figure in this country — Narendra Modi by the end of his campaign would traverse 28,000 kms in his own state, the last leg of it on a seaplane, rallying votes for his party that has been in power for over two decades.

Both parties relied heavily on their star faces — Rahul and Modi. Narendra Modi has been the biggest mass attraction for BJP during its campaigns.

While figures like Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mewani gathered huge crowds as well, they were ultimately just satellites revolving around one central figure — Rahul Gandhi — under whose Presidency the Grand Old Party is fighting its first state election.

However Hardik Patel and Chotubhai Vasava in this political churning have to some extent been able to establish themselves as leaders of the communities they claim to represent- Patidars and Tribals.

Both Modi and Rahul travelled extensively and often criss-crossed each other’s paths. Modi’s initial poll pitch was ‘Vikas versus Dynasty’, Gandhi ended his campaign with a pitch for ‘development versus crony capitalism’. Modi asked Congress whether they wanted ‘Mandir or Masjid’, Gandhi responded with his ‘temple run’ and ‘Shiv Bhakti’.

Gujarat polls are an opportunity for Modi to show that BJP’s dream run is far from over, and will continue well after 2019 general elections. For Rahul Gandhi it is a chance to show that Congress still has a lot of fight left in it. That it wasn’t scared of running in the same marathon.

Through this visualization charting out the campaigns of Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, we’ll attempt in understanding the polls as people cast their ballot on 14th and well after the results are out. Modi claims Congress’ “game will be over on the 18th” while Gandhi has asked everyone to be ready for a ‘Zabardast’ verdict in Gujarat. Countdown has begun.

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