Gujarat & Himachal Pradesh 2017 Election

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It seems that India is still running high on the ‘NaMo’ chant as BJP has comfortably won the Gujarat and Himachal assembly elections held recently. It was a 2-0 win to the BJP which has swept Himachal and also won Gujarat, although by a much lower margin.

Out of a total of 182 seats in Gujarat assembly, the BJP has won 99 assembly seats which is way over the halfway mark but stopping just shy of a 100. The BJP has managed to fight off the anti-incumbency sentiment by winning its 6th consecutive election. Like the CPI(M) in West Bengal had established a precedent by being in power for 34 consecutive years, the BJP has followed suit by being in power for 22 long years.

However the win margin has been reduced this time with Congress significantly improving its hold over Gujarat by partnering with Hardik Patel, the 24 year old face of the Patel agitation for reservation. Congress leader Mr. Rahul Gandhi had also supported Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and backward caste leader Alpesh Thakor. Both of them have won their elections.

In a vigorous campaign, Mr. Gandhi had tried to sway the anger of key groups against the BJP, mainly farmers and traders for its mega economic policies which have caused a lot of commotion in the country. BJP leader Amit Shah has attributed the improved performance of Congress in the Gujarat elections to caste politics and low level of political discourse.

Unlike the narrow win in Gujarat, Himachal was painted with the saffron hue with the BJP winning almost two thirds majority in the 68 member Himachal assembly. However PK Dhumal, the BJP’s presumptive chief minister for the Himachal elections had lost. Seeing the overwhelming win of BJP in the assembly elections of Himachal, it is not too hard to guess that the people of the Himachal had been fed up with its previous chief minister Mr. Virbhadra Singh who has been accused of numerous corruption scandals.

The BJP’s Hindutva card may have had its ramifications in Gujarat but not in Himachal. Having a high literacy rate, the electorate in Himachal mainly banks around issues regarding governance,development and employee’s demands unlike in Gujarat where social divisions can influence the election results. Unlike the national scenario, the Himachal has evolved a sound bipolarity over the decades with the Congress and the BJP being the chief contestants.

Furthermore, the last moment campaign propaganda done by central leaders like Narendra Modi, Smriti Irani, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, etc gave the BJP a strong push in the campaign enabling them to snatch power from the Congress. Corruption and crime were the key charges against the incumbent government with the steady acceleration of crime and violence in the last few years. The murder of a forest guard in Karsog and Gudiya in Kotkhai resulted huge public wrath coupled with the Congress government’s failure to catch the culprits played a significant role in the outcome of this election.

In all, the state of Himachal has trusted BJP to solve the myriad of problems that the state is facing due to the careless governance of the Congress party.

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