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Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 11:30 GMT
Gujarat: The other issues
Survivor of Gujarat quake
Questions have been raised about quake relief aid

The religious violence and its aftermath might be the overriding issues in Gujarat's commercial capital, Ahmedabad, and its immediate environs - but these elections will focus on bread and butter issues in other parts of the state of Gujarat.

The state's ruling BJP will have a lot of explaining to do to people affected by the devastating earthquake of January 2001.

In the worst affected areas, the key issue will be the handling of relief and rehabilitation following the quake.

There have been serious allegations made against the state authorities that aid has not reached the actual victims and that the management of the entire relief operation has been highly disorganised.

Public support for BJP candidates in constituencies in Kutch is likely to depend on the local government's performance in the post-earthquake period.

Water worries

In the west of the state, a traditional BJP stronghold, water will remain the key issue.

With the exception of this year, the region has faced severe drought for several years.

Gujarat women at well
Water remains a key issue in some areas
The state government says it has taken measures to tackle this by erecting some dams have made little difference, and the region continues to face water shortages.

The ground water table has gone very low and certain areas even had to be supplied water by train at least until last summer.

Despite the controversial plans to dam the Narmada River waters, Chief Minister Modi has not been able to assure the people that there will be no water scarcity in the coming summer.

Power supplies

Another major issue in this region is the supply of power to industry.

This will also be a major concern in northern Gujarat, an area known for its agriculture.

With the opposition Congress Party promising a fixed rate of power to the farmers in this area instead of a metered supply introduced by the BJP, the latter is finding itself in a difficult position explaining its stance.

In southern Gujarat, the issues of greatest concern to the electorate will be social, health and educational development.

The state government's performance will be evaluated in relation to the much-hyped Gujarat Vision 2010 project launched in December 2000.

The government promised to improve literacy rates and medical facilities and effect changes in other areas.

The tribal Dangs and Panchmahal areas did not escape the communal tension and violence of earlier this year.

Even so, one of the main electoral issues for them is still social development.

Gujarat conflict in-depth

Key vote

Tense state

Background

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See also:

08 Nov 02 | South Asia
28 Oct 02 | South Asia
30 Jan 01 | South Asia
29 Jan 01 | South Asia
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