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Few Gains from the Elections

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on December 19, 2022 with No Comments

Elections are ever happening process in India, where almost three states go to election every year, thus testing the very pillars of the democracy.  Two states, namely Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh went to the elections and the third election of the Delhi Municipal Council were held simultaneously.   While the ruling party for last 27 years, BJP rested Gujarat once again and thus creating a record of a sort; while it lost Himachal Pradesh to Congress. A Municipality election in Delhi which coincided with the two bigger elections has also seen a change of power, from BJP to AAP. One set of elections are over, and now India is gearing for the next set of elections in state to be held spread of next 6 to 9 months. The sweet taste of victory and the bitter taste of defeat will linger long over the participants, people and parties. Out of the two states that went to Elections, both having BJP as incumbent Government, one has been lost, and another, won by the BJP. In Gujarat, BJP came to power with a thumping majority. Out of 182 seats contested, BJP has got a whooping majority of 156 seats. Among the other parties that we know of, Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP got 5 seats. In Himachal, Congress has come to power with  a margin of 15 seats and AAP couldn’t even open its account there. Hence, three different elections and three different results.

The elections are nothing but a culmination of a five-year-long conversation that the political parties have with the electorate. It is easy to attribute the devastating decline of the Congress from 77 seats in the 2017 Gujarat elections to 17 in these elections to a lacklustre campaign of the senior leadership of the Party in Gujarat. The real difference that works in the BJP’s favour is in the nature of the opposition and what it does. There needs to be a clear challenger to the ruling party in every election. In AAP, there was a clear challenger to the BJP in Delhi. In Himachal too, Congress remained the main challenger. There was no significant split in opposition votes in Himachal. Gujarat stands out as an exception. Results suggest that the AAP may have secured anywhere around 12 per cent votes, a significant leap for the new entrant, and effectively split the opposition votes. BJP go the same votes as in 2017, but AAP vote share dented the Congress to an extent that BJP registered an increase of 57 seats.

Also, the main challenger should have a clear message for the voters.  In Himachal, Congress promised restoration of the “old Pension Scheme”, and it found a favour with the voters. On the other hand, it did nothing much to impress the voters in Gujarat and Delhi. In Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi only held two rallies. It failed to present a clear leader in any of these states. On the contrary, the AAP was sharp with its issues in Gujarat and Delhi. It did not need a new face in Delhi, with Arvind Kejriwal in the saddle. And it took the risk to project a new face in Gujarat. This seems to have paid off.



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