Gujarat election results 2017: Understanding the verdict

The BJP won Gujarat comfortably in the end, but it was close. What happened in Prime Minister Modi’s home state which the BJP won for the sixth consecutive time? Hindustan Times presents a primer of articles to understand the verdict.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2017 11:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Gujarat election result,Gujrat election results 2017,Narendra Modi
Congress supporters celebrate at a Gujarat assembly segment after victory of their candidate.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party lost some seats but held on to power in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat despite a stiff challenge by the Congress in the assembly elections.

The BJP won 99 seats, enough to retain a majority in the 182-member assembly. The Congress won 77 seats, a jump from the 61 it held previously. Here is a round-up of the Hindustan Times coverage of the Gujarat elections to help you understand the verdict:

BJP wins Gujarat for the sixth time as Narendra Modi works his ‘vikas’ magic

PM Modi led the BJP to its sixth straight victory with an increased vote share (compared to the 2012 election), although the Congress won the most seats it has in the state since 1985. “Development is Gujarat’s mantra, not division or dynasty,” Modi said in a speech to party workers on Monday evening in New Delhi, terming the victory “extraordinary”.


In close defeat, a win for Rahul

The Congress failed to dethrone the BJP, but a creditable performance on the PM’s home turf is a boost for its newly elected president, Rahul Gandhi. Party leaders hailed it as validation of the Congress president’s leadership qualities and organisational skills.

At the end of the counting of votes in perhaps the most crucial electoral battle after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress not only significantly increased its tally and vote share but also restricted the BJP below the three-digit figure in the 182-member assembly.


How Modi turned the tide in a hard-fought election

Monday’s verdict is a verdict, yet again, for PM Modi. The numbers show that the BJP was fragile. This was an election where the party just about made it. Let alone its stated ambition of 150 seats, it fell well short of its 2012 tally of 115 seats. But, at the end of the day, it won. And it won only because of the Prime Minister.

The outcome reflects the faith Gujarat’s electorate has in the man they consider their own, and forgive all transgressions of the BJP government in Gandhinagar. Modi’s campaign, vigorous as ever, offers clues about the themes he will return with to the larger electorate in 2019. The outcome has also shown how indispensable he is to the BJP’s fortunes.


Who gained and who lost

The 2017 Gujarat elections – a close contest – have the potential to shape the political fortunes of key national and state leaders. In a curious way, however, key leaders have both won -- and lost -- in this election. The results have a mixed message for PM Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress president Gandhi and Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel.

Here is what the elections mean for the key leaders.

Hardik, the key disruptor

A single week during the peak of the Patidar agitation in August 2015 changed Gujarat’s politics. A single man, who was at the forefront of the agitation, changed the election in 2017 despite being too young to contest. Hardik Patel, 24, has given Gujarat its closest electoral fight in decades and unsettled the politically dominant BJP. Success also came the way of two other young guns — Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakor — the Congress banked on, but their impact was limited.


Make no mistake, the contest in PM Modi’s home state was really close

The BJP has a comfortable lead in terms of both vote share and seat share in the results which have been declared today. This does not mean that Gujarat 2017 was not a closely contested election. The Gujarat election results show ‘none of the above (NOTA)’ has polled more votes than the victory margin in 30 assembly constituencies. Check out our four charts which prove this.


Modi’s economic policies have not hurt the BJP in the state

Elections involving millions of voters are impossible to explain in a single overarching narrative. Such narratives are more convenient than accurate, an example of what behavioural scientists call the confirmation bias. However, elections do offer important clues about the underlying mood of citizens. The results of the Gujarat assembly elections throw light on some key economic policy challenges for the Modi government in New Delhi, in the final stretch before the next Lok Sabha elections.


6 takeaways from the Modi-Rahul battle | Barkha Dutt

If Gujarat’s gladiatorial contest were a game of cricket, today you’d hear Ravi Shastri pull out his favourite cliché: ‘Cricket has won.’

The BJP’s win in the home state of PM Modi and party president Shah is a little bit like that. It reinforces the primacy of Modi as First among Equals; it is indisputably his sprint run in the closing laps that pulled the BJP across the finish line. But it also shows that the challengers did not roll over and play dead; the other side too has upped its game and restored competition to what the BJP expected to be a walkover.

Here are some takeaways

Breaking down key voting patterns
A mapping of election results on top of data that characterises the socio-economic make-up of constituencies throws up interesting details on how certain sections of voters clinched it for the winners. Here are six voting patterns seen in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh:
How it held on to its core in Gujarat…
Urban seats: 69/91

There are 91 constituencies where more than 25% of the population was living in urban areas. The BJP won 76 such seats in 2012. In 2017, even as the Congress upped its tally in such seats from 14 to 21, the BJP managed 69 seats.
Female literacy seats: 66/92

There are 92 constituencies where female literacy was above 69%. In 2012, the BJP won 68 of these seats. In 2017, it won 66. By comparison, the Congress improved its count from 22 seats to 26.
Minority seats: 57/92

Minorities don’t have the numbers to make or break a seat. The BJP exploits this population split with reverse polarization and by dividing the minority vote. In seats, where the minority population was above 10%, the BJP won 57, against 65 in 2012.
…and how it grabbed a hold on Himachal
Rural swing: 22/31

There are 31 seats that are almost entirely rural—97% or more population residing in rural areas. The BJP managed to secure 22 of these, 9 more than in 2012, while the Congress slipped from 17 to 8.
‘Richer’ households: 23/32

A proxy of relatively higher disposable income is ownership of 2-wheelers. In 32 seats, ownership of 2-wheelers was above 15%. Here, the BJP increased its count from 12 seats to 23, even as the Congress fell from 17 to 8.
Basic amenities: 14/22

A toilet in every household, under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, has been a big scheme for the BJP government at the centre. In the 22 seats where only 50% to 75% households had toilets, the BJP doubled its tally to 14, while Congress’ halved to 6. is a search engine for public data; Data shows wins/leads as of 6.30pm, 18 December; Data sources: Census 2011; Election Commission of India

5 political controversies that fuelled the BJP-Cong war

Every Indian election is marked by its share of rhetorical flourishes. It is through polemics that substantial issues are sometimes debated, often skirted. Gujarat 2017 offered its own share of moments and slogans which contributed to the outcome. From ‘Vikas has gone crazy’ to the Pakistan collusion charge --- there was no shortage of controversies in the Gujarat elections.


Don’t take voter for granted, Gujarat election results are a sign of things to come

As election verdicts go, the Gujarat assembly election has thrown up an all-too-rare one: both the winner and the loser are likely to be happy with it. Better still, it could encourage all parties to pay serious attention to unemployment and farm distress, not just in Gujarat, but across the country.


First Published: Dec 19, 2017 08:50 IST