New Delhi: The ruling BJP in Gujarat returned to power emphatically as counting winds down for the assembly elections that were held in two phases on December 1 and 5.
The state’s assembly has 182 seats and the majority mark in Gujarat is 92. Results announced on December 8 show that the BJP has won 156 seats and has broken Congress’s 1985 record in the state – when Madhavsinh Solanki won 149 seats. The Congress’s tally was reduced to 17, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 5.
The BJP has announced that the new government will be sworn in on December 12. The ceremony is likely to have Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah in attendance.
|Aam Aadmi Party||5||0||5|
|Bharatiya Janata Party||156||0||156|
|Indian National Congress||17||0||17|
Voter turnout stood at 66.31%, lower than the 71.28% recorded in the 2017 assembly elections.
Ahead of this month’s elections, the BJP’s number in the House stood at 110 and Congress at 60 after 20 MLAs who won on Congress seats switched over to the BJP in the last five years, three of them quitting just ahead of the elections.
It was a high-stakes three-cornered fight between the BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party. Political observers said the outcome will determine who captures the main opposition space in Gujarat.
Exit polls had predicted a big majority for the BJP in Gujarat.
In the 2017 assembly polls, BJP won 99 seats and Congress 77 seats, while two seats went to BTP, one to NCP, and three to independents.
As The Wire has reported before, BJP has banked on its “Gujarati pride” campaign, while AAP raised issues around health, education, and agriculture.
The Congress primarily relied on its social engineering formula of consolidating the OBC, Dalit, Adivasi, and Muslim communities but could not openly campaign around identity-centric issues. Rather, it focused on constituency-specific concerns and candidate’s own goodwill through its silent but targeted door-to-door campaign over the last six months.
For the BJP, the victory will firm up Narendra Modi’s bid for a third consecutive term as PM in 2024.
For the Congress, its role as the main challenger to the BJP is still at stake and Thursday’s results reveal that the party’s silent campaign’ has not really cut ice with people.
For AAP, which carried out an aggressive campaign, the Gujarat election was a chance to establish itself as a pan-national party and a challenger to BJP at the national level also. The party has claimed it has indeed become a national party, even though its numbers are low in Gujarat.
(With PTI inputs)