Gujarat Verdict Should Give BJP Cause For Alarm, Not Celebration

Posted by Basanta Nirola in Politics, Society
December 19, 2017

Since Gujarat is the home state of PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, Congress’ gains in the state mean that some questions need to be asked to the BJP. Is there something wrong for the BJP within the state, that resulted in Rahul Gandhi becoming a key challenger? No doubt, victory always tastes sweet, but the fact is that it is not a landslide victory for the BJP in Gujarat, where the Modi wave is seen as an absolute certainty, owing to Modi himself being a Gujarati. The people of Gujarat voted for the Congress party, and the party managed to obtain 80 seats, by becoming a strong opposition. One must say that the Congress party put up a strong fight against the BJP, as BJP’s vote share fell by 11% in this election in Gujarat.

Although the ruling BJP has managed to retain power in the state once again, Congress’s performance in the state is important. It had failed to win a single seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat, as the BJP won all 26 parliamentary constituencies. Now, Congress has received a boost in the state.

This election is the most important for both the parties- Congress and BJP. Congress is trying to build up Rahul Gandhi as their most powerful leader, eyeing 2019’s General Elections. This election is also equally significant for Rahul Gandhi, as this was the first Assembly election after he became the Congress president, and this may be a warm-up election for him. For BJP, this election is a testimony – an expression of support following the GST introduction and demonetisation, as well as holding their ground in the place they have been ruling for the past 22 years.  It could be said that Gujarat election was a fight for their dignity in some ways.

Following the results, PM Modi stated that the election result has proven that people want reform and that the results are historic. Yes, the people seem to favour change and development. But, I would like to ask – is BJP in need of some sort of introspection? They won the Gujarat Election, but a significant portion of the people of Gujarat still voted for the Congress Party, and they put up a close fight. That BJP could not manage a landslide victory in Gujarat is not a happy development for them!

Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai has also pointed this out in a tweet:

This poses a serious question: Is there something more fruitful to be given to rural people apart from the digitization of currency or “Make In India”? Is BJP losing support from rural voters, for whom basic amenities are more urgent needs than India becoming ‘Viswarupam’?

Rahul Kanwal tweeted:

The BJP’s 99 seats in Gujarat are 16 less than it had won last time, while the Congress has won 80, 19 more than in 2012. The BJP has 49.1% vote share (47.85% in 2012) and the Congress 41.4% (38.93% in 2012). Now, can we say that the people’s mood towards the BJP has changed, which could hamper them in 2019? No-one can make a fully accurate prediction on this, but I must say that the 2019 Lok Sabha election will not be an easy fight for the BJP, if Congress is able to maintain this rhythm.

BJP is keeping up its victories, having formed the government in Gujarat & Himachal Pradesh. That gives them the chance for celebration as usual. But here BJP must introspect after analyzing the poll results. They must attempt to overcome all the drawbacks that could hinder them. Somehow, their usual games of allegations and verbal attacks against the Opposition has become tasteless for the voters. They need reform and reawakening to prepare for the upcoming state elections and for 2019. This time, the emergence of the Congress as a serious opponent in the state of Gujarat cannot be ignored by them. So, they should celebrate less and focus on work more.