On December 8 the Gujarat BJP celebrated its landslide victory in the assembly elections, winning 156 seats out of the total 182. After 37 years, Congress’ former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki’s record of 149 seats in 1985 was broken.
This was achieved because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s magic, impeccable influence on the Gujarati voters, BJP state unit president C R Patil’s detailed planning, page committees, and keeping party workers on their toes till the last minute, feels Kirit Patel, BJP president of Junagadh District Committee.
This time the BJP improved its tally in Junagadh district by one seat. It won three seats — Junagadh, Keshod and Mangrol — while one each was won by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, Manavadar and Visavadar respectively. In 2017, the BJP had won just two seats, Keshod and Manavadar, whereas the Congress had won the rest, Junagad, Mangrol and Visavadar.
It was forecast in the opinion polls that the AAP will eat only into the Congress votes. This was by and large endorsed by the voters in the elections held in two phases for the 182 seats. Out of them, the BJP won 156, the Congress 17, the AAP (5), the SP (1) and Independents bagged 3.
In the 2017 elections the BJP had won just 99 seats and the Congress 77.
If the 2022 election results are dissected, there is not a single seat where the AAP has not performed well, getting 1000 votes to the highest 80,000 votes. AAP candidates were runners up on 35 seats and the Congress on 119 seats. The AAP across the state, caste and creed damaged the Congress and helped the BJP to take its tally to 156.
The AAP helped the BJP even in the tribal belt, where it could not make inroads even after 27 years in power, said Shankarbhai Amaliyar, president of the BJP Dahod District Committee.
According to Amaliyar, the tribals are illiterate and this time they got attracted to the guarantee schemes of the AAP and so they voted in huge numbers for the AAP candidates, though the AAP’s organization does not exist and many people had not even heard the AAP candidates names.
The AAP candidate in Limkheda constituency polled 65,754 votes, the Devgadh Baria candidate 69,326 and the Jhalod candidate 47,523 votes.
Not just the AAP’s presence, the BJP’s unity and the party workers hard work increased the votes for the party candidates, said the BJP leader from Dahod. According to him, for the first time there was no dissent against the party candidates in the district, and everyone worked unitedly to create history in the state assembly.
Why blame the AAP, says the Congress party’s Amreli district president Dhirajlal Raiyani. According to him, the AAP is one of the reasons, but even being the district unit president he does not hesitate in admitting that weak organization is to be blamed to some extent. He adds, “If the party had a strong grassroots network spread across all the constituencies, we would not have faced our worst defeat in the history of Gujarat elections.”
Raiyani recalls that in the 2017 elections the Congress had swept the district by winning all five seats, while post elections one MLA had switched sides. In 2022, the BJP won all five seats, which also means that our MLAs had lost their connect with the voters.