oppn parties Gujarat First Phase: Is It Advantage BJP?

News Snippets

  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
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.