The critical 30% that stands between the Cong and its Uttarakhand dream

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The campaigning for the Uttarakhand Assembly elections has ended and all the 70 seats are set to go to polls in a single phase on Monday.

In the elections, while the BJP is contesting to retain its government, the Congress is trying hard to return to power. Since the formation of the state, the power keeps shifting between the two prominent parties after every Assembly election and thus the Congress is confident of its victory this time. However, the BJP is claiming to create a new record by winning for the second time in a row.

On one hand there is the BJP, which is contesting elections on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and keeping its current Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami in front, while on the other hand is the Congress, which has not clearly announced its chief ministerial candidate, however it is believed that Harish Rawat will be the Congress’s CM candidate.

The elections this time have also become a matter of prestige for the Congress high command and the Gandhi family after the voices of protest being raised by its own veteran leaders at the national level.

The biggest challenge before the Congress is to defeat the BJP by covering the vote margin of 30 per cent, with the help of which the BJP had captured all the 5 seats in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The ever-increasing vote margins between the two parties since 2014 is a major cause of concern for the Congress and it is not possible to defeat the BJP in the state without finding a solution to it.

In the 2012 Assembly elections, there was not much difference between the BJP and the Congress in terms of vote percentage and seats. In 2012, the Congress won 32 seats with 33.79 per cent votes and BJP won 31 seats with 33.13 per cent votes. At that time Congress along with other parties formed the government in the state. But since then, both in terms of vote percentage and seats, the Congress has been lagging behind the BJP.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won all the 5 seats in the state by getting 56 per cent votes. In this election, the vote share of Congress had slightly increased to 34.4 per cent but it could not win a single seat.

In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP ousted the Congress government from power by winning 56 of the 70 seats and securing 46.51 per cent votes. The Congress, with 33.49 per cent of the votes, could get only 11 seats in the polls.

This difference of votes between the two parties increased further in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, wherein the BJP secured 61.66 per cent votes and captured all the five seats in the state, while the Congress came down to 31.73 per cent. The vote margin between the Congress and the BJP has increased to almost 30 per cent by 2019.

Although it is also true that the equations of the Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections are very different, it is not possible for the Congress to form the government in the state without bridging this gap of 30 per cent votes.

Both, the BJP and the Congress, also have their eyes on the AAP and the BSP.

The results of the polls would depend on who would make a dent on the rival’s vote bank and whether the BSP can regain its old strength or not.

20220213-092003

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