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Gujarat election results: How did the fight between Congress, BJP get so close?

Against all expectations, Congress and BJP are neck and neck in contest for Gujarat. Here’s how the result took a sudden turn.

assembly elections Updated: Dec 18, 2017 09:51 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Gujarat Elections,Gujarat Results,BJP
Here’s what could have resulted in a neck and neck competition between Congress and BJP in Gujarat.(REUTERS)

Initial trends show BJP and Congress are almost neck and neck in Gujarat with trends for less than 10 seats unavailable at 9.30 am.

Here’s how that happened:

1. The BJP is trailing in quite a few urban seats that it won in 2012. The Congress, on the other hand, is retaining its hold in rural areas. The result is a double whammy for the BJP.

2. The Patidar factor seems to have worked for the Congress. In the Saurashtra region, where the Patidars have most influence, the Congress has gained. Even chief minister Vijay Rupani was trailing from Rajkot West constituency. In 2012, the BJP won 35 and the Congress just 16 seats in the Saurashtra-Kutch region which sends 54 members to the assembly. This time two parties are almost tied thus far, on the basis of trends.

3. Anger over demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), especially in Surat and its environs seems to have hurt the BJP. The BJP won 28 of the 35 seats in this region, South Gujarat, in 2012. Much like in other regions, there’s little to separate the two parties this time around.

4. While the NDA government at the Centre tweaked the rates of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on several items to mollify traders and small businessmen who were showing signs of discontentment, Congress seemed to have successfully tapped into their anger.

5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew huge crowds in his election meetings, indicating his continuing popularity in the state, but his successors in Gujarat-- Anandiben Patel and Vijay Rupani-- failed to live up to people’s expectations, especially at a time when different communities, especially Patidars, were getting restless due to agrarian crisis.

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 09:49 IST