Gujarat Election of 2017 has been a closely contested one with a lot of misinformation campaign by the all the parties. In the end, the voter has made his choice and more people are convinced of the BJP’s efforts of good governance. Inspite of increasing their vote share, BJP lost several seats and the Congress has gained a lot of seats giving some credibility to their newly elected president. The congress will now go for the breaking of the traditional BJP votes in every election and hence we can be sure of lot of protests by various groups demanding some governmental benefits. These demands by various groups arise because of the discriminatory policies of the government which are imbibed in the constitution.
The election results throw some interesting numbers which must give sufficient signals to the BJP leadership. A total 7 seats were won with less than 1000 vote margin and of these 4 are won by the Congress and 3 by BJP. Both BJP and Congress have won 13seats each with margins from 1000 to 5000 and Other parties have won 2 seats with margins from 1000 to 5000. It can be said that close contests happened in total of 35 seats which could swing to either side in the future elections. These close contests might be the result of Modi not being the CM candidate and hence people might have gone for shopping for newer candidates.
BJP has a habit of winning big and thus it has won with margins more than 20000 in 57 seats and the congress has won in 18 seats with margins more than 20000. Other party candidates have won in 3seats with margins more than 20000 votes which is a small indication that people are still willing to rally behind individual candidates for a variety of reasons. Candidates still matter to the people and the elections are still not only about the top leaders.
The most crucial part of this election is BJP getting close to 50% vote share and this should silence the liberals who keep on harping that BJP did not get the support of the majority of the people. The BJP has more than 50% of the votes polled in 67 constituencies and this is 67% of all the seats it won in this elections. The congress has more than 50% of the votes polled in 37 constituencies and this is 48% of all the seats it won. The BJP continues to get big number of votes and continues to win with large margins in its strong areas and it has become considerably weak in several areas. Two constituencies should serve as a remainder to the BJP – UNA, SOMNATH and the information, misinformation campaign associated with the two constituencies.
NOTA which is the intellectual and liberal choice too had a hidden role in the results. The number of votes cast for NOTA is more than victory margin in 30 seats and the congress has won in 13 of these seats while the BJP has won in 15 seats while the other parties have won in 2 seats. In an idealistic situation, if there was no NOTA choice, then the voters who cast NOTA might have sat back at home or would have gone with some candidate or the other, resulting in the changing of the end result. The BJP and Congress must be aware of these NOTA candidates because these are the silent killers who could change the fortunes in closely contested polls. Most likely these NOTA groups are over-educated cynical people who have not much faith in the political systems. But the democracy has provided the voters with the choice and hence their decision has to be respected.
The end result of the elections is that the BJP has scrapped the bottom of its VIKAS barrel and there is nothing left for it talk about VIKAS in future. In a state governed by the party for 22years there should not be the same old issues of basic infrastructure. The people’s aspirations increase and if a political party continues to talk about the basic aspirations and mocks the soft Hindutva approach of its opponents it will not look good on the party in power which does not dare to do something for the cause of the Hindutva. The BJP and its Hindutva agenda are not in sync post elections and the party cannot continue to think as the custodian of the Hindutva agenda while doing nothing for the cause.
The BJP can consider itself as the natural party of governance and cannot claim to be the natural party of Hindutva because when the Hindutva raises its head only the deliverables will be looked. A secular party has always delivered on its promises in matters of secular religious agenda and has made a permanent vote bank for itself. It might also be possible that the Hindutva groups might migrate to the secular party in case a promise is made to fulfill the agenda of the Hindutva groups because of Congress party’s past record of delivering on its religious agenda to groups which support it. BJP must not play fake Hindutva agenda but must take affirmative actions even though the actions are small they will generate a lot of goodwill for the party. The VIKAS barrel is empty.
Picture Credit: Rishabh’s Lens