Party sources say that the public response was way beyond their expectations with more than 10 lakh people turning up during the four-hour travel in the open car.
“It was perhaps the longest in India, spanning around 50 kilometres. It passed through 14 Vidhan Sabha seats, 13 from Ahmedabad and one in Gandhinagar,” a senior party functionary said.
He said that public enthusiasm and affection were evident in the fact that it took around 4 hours to traverse this distance.
The prime minister and his team were so enthused with public response during the roadshow that they planned another one the next day on Friday as Modi reached the public rally venue in Ahmedabad while taking out another roadshow covering assembly constituencies, which were missed Thursday.
As the party’s mascot for the Gujarat polls, PM Modi continues to be the most important factor and the BJP has planned to utilise his appeal amongst voters with more aggression for the second phase than it did in the first phase of the assembly polls.
According to the party sources, they have estimates of winning around 67 of the 89 seats where polling took place in the first phase.
The party expects to make major gains in Saurashtra and South Gujarat which went for polling on Thursday.
However, party leaders are careful and cautious about the second phase of polling at the remaining 93 seats in the north and central Gujarat.
“At least 31 seats in the two regions have been traditional with the Congress but we are confident of winning and breaking the trend,” a senior party functionary said.
The party leader, however, insisted that the Congress remains its principal opponent and that the tall claims made by the AAP leaders had no presence at ground level.
“Gujarat is one of the most politically aware states and people here have seen how AAP creates a buzz and optics as they did in Goa and Uttarakhand. But once they failed, they ran away,” the BJP leader said.
The saffron party’s internal surveys say that one of the three leaders who had led different agitations against the BJP government in 2017, Congress sitting MLA Jignesh Mewani from Vadgam, is walking a tightrope whereas two others, Hardik Patel (Viramgam) and Alpesh Thakor (Gandhinagar south), both with the BJP now, are strongly placed.