TODAY -

Mixed bag for BJP in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh polls
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: December 10, 2022 -



IT'S obvious that along with scripting stupendous electoral victory in the Gujarat polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would have badly wanted to retain power in Himachal Pradesh as well for losing the latter state to arch rival Congress means road block to its vision for complete uprooting of the grand old party.

By retaining power in Gujarat for a record seventh term and pocketing 156 of the 182 Assembly seats, it's crystal clear that when it comes to electoral battle, the BJP is far ahead of its opponents in Prime Minister Modi's home turf.

Tasting success for seven successive terms in one of the advanced states of country also underscores that at-least in Gujarat there is no anti-incumbency factor that the Congress or debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had been hoping for.

The entry of AAP in the Gujarat assembly elections might have dented the Congress' prospect to give the ruling BJP good run for its money but the rout it suffered showcases that the Congress party lacks a leader figure that could diminish the aura of PM Modi in his home state.

In fact, prominent Congress faces skipping the electoral campaign didn't help in the endeavour to revive the party's fortunes in Gujarat, where the BJP's battle was spearheaded by Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah.

Rather absence of top leaders, including Rahul Gandhi who was engrossed in his Bharat Jodo Yatra, projected the party as a rudderless organisation as could be comprehended from bagging only 17 seats this time compared to its previous tally of 77 legislators.

The Congress party would also be ruing that unlike in the past assembly elections when it used to engage in straight fight against BJP, the AAP's foray and portrayal as the main contestant against the BJP with Punjab election victory as the trump card, ruined its chance of regaining power.

However, the Gujarat debacle should make the Congress leadership do some deep soul-searching for it focused on the campaign only after the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections ended on November 12 with majority of the party's senior leaders either shying away from the coastal state or devoting their time to the party's presidential elections.

With former president Rahul Gandhi joining the campaign only in the last leg and addressing only two rallies, it's obvious that such an attitude and approach wouldn't impress the electors. As reported, BJP, which has been ruling Gujarat since 1995, had set a target of securing 150 seats and campaigned aggressively across 182 Assembly constituencies.

In addition to the regular presence of PM Modi in the campaign, the electoral triumph in Gujarat also demonstrated suaveness of the BJP in maximising the use and influence of social media in making an average Gujarati voter a stakeholder in the evolving Gujarat story and injecting a dose of pride into them.

As opined by political observers, the party's strategy of roping in national level leaders and MLAs from other states to reach out to voters of all linguistic backgrounds benefited it.

However, regardless of the overwhelming mandate received in Gujarat, the saffron party would be feeling wretched that it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress.



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