The Bharatiya Janata Party romped home in the Gujarat Assembly elections, winning 156 out of 182 seats. The election results are indicative of future political developments in the country. Gujarat, described as ‘mini-Bharat’, has sizeable BCs, Adivasis, Muslims and Scheduled Castes. Political analysts suggest that the BJP has won appreciation from all sections of society.
In 2017, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor contested on Congress ticket. But, this time he contested on BJP ticket and won with a huge margin over his nearest rival. A week ago, he went on record that the BJP would get re-elected to the Assembly with a tally of more than 150 seats as the Congress had lost support from all sections of society.
This time, the BJP received the maximum number of OBC seats. Hardik Patel, who had led the Pattidar movement vigorously, was elected with a huge majority. Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani, as Congress nominee, managed to win over BJP rival with a slender margin of 4,000 votes. Soon after his election, he blamed the Congress leadership for failing to effectively use Dalit leaders like him in the elections.
The BJP won 17 out of 19 seats in Muslim-majority areas. In 27 seats reserved for the Adivasis, the BJP won 24 seats this time, against nine in the last elections. This has silenced the critics of BJP who had alleged that the BJP turned Adivasis into displaced persons while executing the Narmada project. In Dariapur, where 65 per cent of the electorate is Muslims, the BJP tasted victory for the first time.
The outcome of Gujarat polls stands as testimony to the fact that the BJP has spread its roots in all communities. The Congress party’s base has eroded among all communities. The Congress won a mere17 seats. In 21 seats spread across 33 districts, the Congress did not get a single vote.
The development that took place in the country under the Congress regime pales compared to the growth registered in the country under the BJP regime over the past eight years.
Development of highways, ports, expressways, corridors, airports and other infrastructure as well as implementation of several developmental schemes with outlays running to lakhs of crores of rupees has almost removed the thin line that separates towns and villages. The elimination of middlemen has made BJP popular. Above all, the BJP regime has enhanced the identity and self-respect of people. There is no doubt that cultural nationalism, responsible for BJP’s victory in Gujarat, would help the party get a landslide victory in the 2024 General Election. No other party is expert in mixing cultural nationalism with development.
Gujaratis value self-respect. Gujaratis feel proud as Mahatma Gandhi, who had played a pivotal role in the freedom struggle; Sardar Patel, who was instrumental in rebuilding Somnath temple and in uniting princely states in the country, and Narendra Modi, who has put the country in the global development map, are sons of the soil.
People have realized the advantages of double-engine government. People want stability both in the state and at the national level. The BJP’s slogans of credible government and double engine sarcar reverberated successfully throughout Gujarat.
In Himachal Pradesh, the Congress polled 37,974 votes more than the BJP and came to power. The Congress got a vote share of 43.9 per cent, while the BJP got 43 per cent. The Congress came to power with a slender margin of 0.5 per cent votes. In five seats, the Congress defeated BJP by less than 1,000 votes.
In Delhi Municipal elections, the BJP’s vote share, compared to previous vote share, increased by 3%. Yet, the BJP failed to capture power in the Delhi Municipal Corporation. After being in power in the civic body for over 15 years, the BJP managed to win in 104 wards to emerge as the main opposition in the civic body. The 100-year-old Congress party, which ruled Delhi once, had to contend with just nine wards out of 250 wards.
What do these elections say in essence? In the 2024 elections, it will not be easy for any political to take on the BJP. The Congress, which had contested 182 seats in Gujarat, won just 17 seats. The Congress would have to face similar situation across the nation. The regional parties are battling between life and death due to anarchic and family rule, corruption, and scandals. They do not know how face the BJP.