Monday, December 18, 2017

Saurashtra made all the difference for BJP in Gujarat

Post election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the BJP, the winner in both the States, has plenty to pause and rethink.

Gujarat was showcased as the battleground for various reasons, and BJP's victory there, ironically, leaves nothing much to cheer about. It aimed 150 seats, and is ending up just close to 100. They have just about 20 MLA more than Congress. While BJP's number in the Assembly has come down, that of the Congress has gone up.

The big loss for them in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. where BJP lost 13 seats and Congress gained 15 seats. In the rest of the State, BJP lost three seats and Congress gained four. This area has high density of farmers (73%) and Patel (55%). The numbers indicate that a good number of that section of society was angry with BJP.

Himachal Pradesh has always alternated between the two parties. So, to that extent, the BJP win was expected. But importantly, their chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal lost.

What next

For BJP, it is not enough that they talk of development and roll out grandiose schemes. There has to be changes for the better on the ground - real development to talk about. No room for complacency.

For Congress, the Gujarat result gives them lot of hope. It also shows that they are a force to reckon with. How that will play out in next year's assembly elections in eight states will depend on how they consolidate their gains and convince the people that Congress is still a party they can rely on.

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