Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Nation -

ac­cept our de­mands, the traders will con­sider other options. They are forc­ing us to do that,” says Agar­wal.

Five of Su­rat district’s 12 assem­bly seats can be in­flu­enced by tex­tile traders. In the 2012 elec­tions, the BJP won all 12 seats. This time, traders warn, there could be sur­prises for the party.

The Congress senses an open­ing and has pulled out all stops to woo the busi­ness­men. Party vice pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi ad­dressed a rally in nearby Varachcha on Novem­ber 3 and high­lighted the prob­lems of Su­rat’s traders. On Novem­ber 8, he made it a point to visit the city and in­ter­acted with tex­tile traders all day. In ev­ery speech, he has hit the gov­ern­ment hard on GST prob­lems.

The BJP, though, ap­pears con­fi­dent of re­tain­ing its base after re­cent changes in the tax sys­tem and a meet­ing be­tween fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley and a del­e­ga­tion of city traders. “Tex­tiles traders have been our strong sup­port­ers. They are un­happy over cer­tain is­sues but those are be­ing sorted out. We are con­fi­dent they trust BJP than any other party,” said Ni­rav Shah, lo­cal BJP leader and coun­cilor in Su­rat mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion, who was part of team de­puted by the party to hold talks with the tex­tile traders.

Jag­nani agrees with Shah but ar­gues that the changes might have been a case of too lit­tle, too late. “Some­times even your own peo­ple make mis­takes. Then you have to give them a jolt so that they will re­mem­ber it in the fu­ture,” he says.

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