Split verdict: BJP remains Gujarat lion, Congress climbs hill & AAP gets future ready

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 8: Predictions of most of the commoners came on target, as the results of the Assembly elections poured in from Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh after the MCD verdict came a day before. Except for the BJP enthusiasts, people with basic political sense would have called the elections right.

The Bharatiya Janata Party with about 53 per cent vote share swept the Gujarat elections in a one-sided affair. Congress, which was fear-stricken to even campaign, helped Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lead the BJP to beat all time record to win almost 158 Assembly seats out of 182 in Gujarat. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge could have been under the influence of opium to have called Modi a Ravan in the election campaign in Gujarat. Modi exploited Kharge’s Ravan to the hilt.

The AAP made a spectacular entry in the Gujarat politics even if the party did not win seats. The vote share of the AAP is almost about 13 per cent, while Congress polled about 27 per cent. This is despite the fact that the AAP had focused in certain areas in Gujarat, in and around Surat, Saurashtra, etc. This sets up the AAP for the next Assembly elections in Gujarat.

Congress in the absence of Ahmed Patel appears on way to irrelevance in Gujarat. Kharge’s blundering away a poll plank to the BJP and party’s former chief Rahul Gandhi’s ‘I don’t care’ attitude have shifted the party’s base to the AAP and the BJP. Congress tally of 77 in last Assembly would now come down to about 19 in a House of 182.

Elections for Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and the MCD took place just weeks after implosive developments within Congress with the party president election saw demand for the Gandhis to stay away. The subtle message from Gujarat and the MCD is also that Congress without Gandhis is too fragile.

That gains credence from the fact that the Congress national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra led the party campaign in Himachal Pradesh, and she delivered the state. Modi had sought vote in Himachal in his name, saying in election speeches that even if the names of candidates are not remembered it be known that vote for the BJP would be a vote for Modi. Yet, the hilly state stayed with the electoral tradition to vote out the incumbent government. The BJP also harmed its interests by denying tickets to a number of existing MLAs, while erring in ticket distribution, which sent several rebels in the fray. The BJP badly lost in Kangra region, which is the influence zone of the party veteran Shanta Kumar, who had long been sidelined in the party.

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