This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Saurav Kumar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Unnoticed Facets Of The Gujarat And Himachal Election Results

More from Saurav Kumar

The much awaited moment of election results has come up with some significant clues, which can be a decisive factor for the upcoming electoral exams in Indian politics.

Let us recapitulate a few unnoticed points from the two states of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. The BJP has managed to grab power in both the states, but that should not be considered as a landslide victory, when its most popular face, Narendra Modi himself had hit roads for several rallies.

In Gujarat, after a long time, the electoral battle was a real ‘Kaatein ki takkar’ (equal fight). The reason lies in the seat count and vote share of the two major parties since the last assembly elections. In terms of seat count, the BJP lost 16 seats in comparison to 2012 with a minimal increase of 1.1% in the vote share, whereas the INC gained 19 seats with a marginal 2.4 % increase in vote share.

The 10% loss of BJP’s vote share in Gujarat, compared to 2014 shows, how their policies and performance are being resented by those who had supported them earlier. This resentment will only grow in the days to come.

One cannot say that this was a landslide victory for the BJP. Rather, it was a desperate face-saving attempt. On the other hand, the INC had improved in statistics of seats, but it trailed due to the following factors-

  1. The BJP’s election machinery takes the upper hand over all existing parties. Apart from the BJP cadres, it has the added strength of Hindutva organizations like Hindu Mahasabha, Sri Ram Sena, Bajrang Dal and most importantly, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, whereas the INC’s organizational strength cannot practically match its networking.
  2. Overconfidence about forming the government was short-sighted on the INC’s part. The reason behind this according to me is that in a democracy, incremental upgradation is an important factor. For the last two assembly elections, the INC gave a cake walk to the BJP, and suddenly it decided to dislodge the BJP with an intense web-like network among the masses. The same was seen during the Punjab assembly elections in the case of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). From a naïve political organization, they assumed that it was easily possible to form the government, averting role of an opposition party. Unemployment, malnutrition and caste-based violence were issues that were not adequately emphasized on in Gujarat.
  3. Urban Gujarat continues to be the citadel of the BJP. The state’s demography continues to be an advantage of the saffron party. The BJP won 16/21 seats in Ahmedabad, 8/10 in Baroda, 15/16 in Surat and 6/8 in Rajkot. So 45 out of 55 seats in the four urban centres, paved half the way towards a majority. The BJP however, didn’t perform exceptionally well in rural Gujarat.
  4. The credibility of the election commission has also been undermined and is questionable, as was evident with the delay in announcing the dates for polling and its inaction over the Prime Minister’s roadshow. This proves the puppet image of Election Commission of India.
  5. In at least 28 constituencies, NOTA got a higher share of votes than the victory margin of the winning candidate. The five lakh people in Gujarat did not find hope in the INC or the BJP, which is not a healthy sign for the policies and politics of both parties. The dissatisfaction is clearly visible among people, which is an indication towards a demand for a political alternative in the state.
  6. Caste-based violence and discrimination in Gujarat have gotten a big jolt in the form of Jignesh Mevani. The agitation led by him in 2016, has now taken shape in power politics. Muslims, Adivasis and Dalits have gotten a hope in Jignesh Mevani. This victory is proof that people want to reject the hate politics of BJP-RSS. The nation needs a subaltern narrative that can articulate and assert itself, and Jignesh’s win is a small but significant triumph in this direction.
  7. Amit Shah’s arrogance and bluster have been rejected in these elections. For a party boasting of being able to capture 150+ seats, it has been reduced to double digits. The result is a wake-up call for the BJP. The BJP continues to be the frontrunner, but the 2019 Lok Sabha elections cannot be a cakewalk, if a united opposition with a concrete narrative, can give the saffron behemoth a straight fight.

On the other hand, in Himachal Pradesh, the power change was cyclical in nature. Now the BJP is back in power with a clear majority. But still few reasons played a decisive role.

  1. The INC’s anti-incumbency rule made the BJP a clear choice for the people. But the defeat of the CM candidate of BJP, Prem Dhumal and the State President of BJP, raises an eyebrow towards the credibility of BJP’s way of politics.
  2. The CM of the state has been tainted with many corruption charges which made people lose trust in his leadership, and the victory slipped from the Congress’ hands.
  3. Degrading law and order became a concern for people. The Shimla gangrape and murder case that rocked the hilly state on July 4, 2017, saw students, locals and the opposition political parties came out in protest against the government and police authorities.
  4. The BJP won elections, but people rejected the saffron party’s entire top leadership, including the chief ministerial candidate.
  5. The nepotism undertaken by both the INC and the BJP is a serious question. The teacher’s recruitment scandal is an example. The party has a list of such candidates who are favourites either of BJP or INC. But this issue was sidelined.

Though BJP made numerous promises during 2014 Lok Sabha elections which are yet to see daylight, among them one was to steeply hike import duty on apples to protect the local apple orchards. But now more than three lakh ton of apples are being imported from US, China and New Zealand. People of the hill state are still trapped with no political alternative – with an exception.

A Surprise Red Spring

The Theog seat of Himachal opted for a reliable change, in the form of Rakesh Singha, a Kisan leader and known voice for farmers from the platform of Himachal Kisan Union. The CPI (M) has always had some presence in the Himalayan state, though mostly restricted to Shimla.

In 2012, it had won both the mayor and deputy mayor posts in the Shimla municipality. This being the apple belt of Himachal, both demonetization and goods and services tax (GST) were important poll points as traders had to suffer. Rakesh Singha has led the struggle of the workers at the Wangtoo Karcham hydroelectric project built by the Jaypee Company at Kinnaur. He has been firm to act against the ill politics of both BJP and INC in Himachal. The youthful presence of the student wing of the party, the Student Federation of India, in Theog, along with the continued struggle of the working class, collectively resulted in the reposition of faith by the people.

With these elections, one point is clear – that if a political alternative with a vision of social justice, inclusive policies and honest governance (in the form of Rakesh Singha and Jignesh Mevani) is put forward, the divisive ill politics of the two national parties can be challenged and replaced

Threat To The Idea Of India

These results pose a big concern for us. Mr Modi has used populism, nationalism and anti-secularism to great effect and fired up the imagination of millions looking for instant progress and national greatness. The RSS’s agenda is not just politics for the usual business of governance and economic development. Those are means towards the ultimate goal, a higher aspiration, which is to build a Hindu Rashtra. Clearly, a Hindu Rashtra is incompatible with India’s Constitution and its democratic norms. By assuming power in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the BJP has become a force to amend and hurt principles of a secular, sovereign, socialist, democratic, Republic of India. The opposition must realize this threat, and build its own strategy, complete with an ideological narrative that can resonate with most Indians to save the foundations of the nation.

You must be to comment.
  1. Hari Singh

    it is true that our politicians makes false promises during election time and forget all promises after winning election,is true picture of our political system.hope our all political parties will work for ppl welfare and solve their problems of bijli,pani,sadak,school,hospital,job,education etc?

  2. kaushikmw

    The comrade author, as expected, has only highlighted negative in the victory of BJP in both the states. This clearly shows his envy towards growing popularity of BJP across the nation. He has categorically neglected he achievements of BJP government so far and made a blanket statement that 2014 promises of BJP government are yet to see the daylight. This shows the biased view of the author. Instead, he has taken an opportunity to highlight the meager success of Red fraction in these elections. He has highlighted this over the 6th straight victory of BJP in the same state. Even with reduced no of seats, this is no less feat to achieve in democratic India.
    Finally, the comrade claims rise of BJP as threat to idea of India. But let me remind him that, the idea of India is not left ideology, which is facing its existential crisis in today’s age.
    He also claims that the idea of Hindu Rashtra is not compatible with constitution of India and her democratic values. But let me remind him that it is left ideology in the entire world which has given rise to dictators. Bringing Hindu Rashtra means bringing back the glory of India which was before she was invaded by British and decoits of central Asia. That was the most glorious and prosperous time India has ever seen. In contrast, the communist ideology has failed all over the globe and has not brought any good to anyone. Wherever it was experimented, the nation has stooped low. So bringing back the Hindu rastra is much better than the failed and undemocratic communist ideology.

More from Saurav Kumar

Similar Posts

By Ritwik Trivedi

By Vivek Verma

By Tulika Dixit

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below