oppn parties Gujarat First Phase: Is It Advantage BJP?

News Snippets

  • Government data placed in Parliament shows a sharp decline in job creation under its flagship employment generation schemes
  • The government is working to amend the Aadhar Act to make it possible for the Aadhar to be linked with the Voter's ID. Election Commission will simultaneously be empowered to link the two
  • Tapas Pal, former TMC MP, dies of cardiac arrest in Mumbai. He was questioned for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley scam and gained notoriety for his rape remark in 2014.
  • Bypoll to panchayats in J&K, scheduled for March in eight phases, postponed due to security concerns.
  • Supreme Court says that overhead power transmission lines going through the Desert National Park in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan must go underground to save the Great Indian Bustard and the Lesser Florican
  • Pakistan not placed in FAFT blacklist but kept on the grey list with warning
  • The government is expected to announce duty cuts and other measures to combat business disruption due to coronavirus outbreak in China
  • South-East Asia loses its charm as a tourist destination after the coronavirus outbreak in China, airfares dip to new lows
  • DMK leader RS Bharathi says media is running like the red light area in Mumbai
  • A Delhi court issues fresh warrants for the hanging of the Nirbhaya convicts. Fixes the date for March 3
  • Supreme Court appoints a mediation team to ask Shaheen Bagh protestors to avoid blocking the road and shift to another venue
  • Supreme Court says peaceful protests cannot be denied in a democracy but also says that a balance must be struck as protestors cannot be allowed to block roads
  • Telcos pay part of their dues for AGR after the bashing from the Supreme Court
  • Debbie Abrahams, a Labour MP from UK, who was critical of India's action in Kashmir, not allowed to enter India. She was deported to Dubai from the Delhi airport
  • Sidharth Shukla wins Big Boss 13
Former principal secretary to PM Modi, Nripendra Mishra, appointed to head the temple committee of the Ram Janambhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust
oppn parties
Gujarat First Phase: Is It Advantage BJP?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-12-10 08:11:06

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Gujarat voted in the first phase of elections on Dec 8. There was a huge buzz the whole day but in the end the voting percentage was only 68, a good 3.5 points lower than 2012. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala perhaps jumped the gun when he said that when people vote in such huge numbers, it is usually a vote for change. For, the numbers are lesser than those in 2012 and that year they had voted for the BJP.

Although there have been a lot of changes since then – notably, two changes in chief ministers, strong-incumbency, anger over demonetization and GST, farmer resentment at poor support price of crops, the Patidar agitation and ‘social engineering’ by a rejuvenated Congress – the bottom line seems to be that though people are angry with the BJP, they are not yet ready to ditch it completely.

All things point to the fact that the BJP is going to retain its core support and the opposition has not been able to stitch together a caste-religion combine that can overtake it. Firstly, the opinion polls give BJP a comfortable (though nowhere near the ambitious mark Amit Shah had set) number of seats to form the next government. Secondly, the betting market (often a good barometer as punters put their money where their mouth is) places the Congress at 1:3 to form the government. Thirdly, in a famous reply, a trader is reported to have said that while the community is angry with the BJP, they will still vote for it as “hum naraaz hain, gaddar nahin.” Fourthly, Mani Shankar Aiyar queered the pitch for the Congress by calling Modi neech. Modi gained immense political capital by playing on the remark. Lastly, the coming together of Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mewani and Alpesh Thakor with the Congress has induced fear in the other communities about the impending quota-raj if they come to power. This will work in BJP’s favour.

But given the high pitch at which the Gujarat elections are being fought, anything less than 116 would result in a loss of face for the party. Rahul Gandhi knows this – as he also knows that he cannot help his party form the next government – and that is why he is working round the clock to ensure that the BJP tally is smaller than that in 2012.