Congress is silent, AAP has gained ground but BJP remains steadfast and indomitable

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Congress is silent, AAP has gained ground but BJP remains steadfast and indomitable
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Gujarat, since its inception, has had a tradition of bipolar state politics that oscillates between the BJP and the Congress. The Congress won the first three assembly elections in 1962, 1967 and 1972 in Gujarat. He was defeated in the 1975 elections following the declaration of emergency by an alliance of parties led by Morarji Desai, the Jan Sangh and the Kimlop party of rebel Congress leader Chimanbhai Patel.

Since 1995, the BJP has swept every parliamentary election. It has ruled ever since, except for a brief period from 1996 to 1998 when its leader Shankarsinh Vaghela rebelled and formed a government with the help of Congress. Earlier regional parties founded by notable figures such as Chimanbhai Patel, Shankarsinh Vaghela and Keshubhai Patel contested the elections, but they failed to make an impact on the state electorate, which was dominated by the BJP and Congress.

In 2022, the election trumpet has sounded in the election-bound state of Gujarat. As for Gujarat, it will see an election to the National Assembly for 182 seats in two phases: the first phase on December 1 and the second phase on December 5.

It should be noted that the entry of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has already transformed Gujarat’s elections from a bipartisan poll to a tripartite electoral contest.

Let’s look at the Gujarat assembly polls in a systematic way considering all the stakeholders:

Gujarat State is not only the territory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah but is also considered the stronghold of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and, without mincing words, the laboratory of Hindutva according to some political commentators.

According to a 2017 survey by Saurabh Goenka, “Gujarat, which accounts for only 5% of the national population, produces 7.3% of the national GDP and 5.6% of the total FDI inflows. Gujarat surpasses the majority Indian states in terms of industrial production. The state accounts for 18.4% of the national production and 20% of India’s exports. Gujarat also accounts for 23% of the national dairy production. Gujarat produces 40% of the silk Gujarat is home to 7.2% of all Indian universities Gujarat is the world leader in the production of processed diamonds, accounting for 72% of global production Surat polishes eight out of ten diamonds in the world Gujarat is also a national powerhouse for the manufacture of denim fabrics, accounting for 70% of national production.Gujarat’s GDP has increased more than 1300 times in the 56 years since its establishment.On average, the annual income of Gujaratis has increased from Rs. 339 e n 1960 to Rs. 1.38 lakhs in 2016. The state controls almost 10% of the national electricity capacity”. Overall, the state is at the forefront of development parameters.

The BJP has an advantage over its opponents

The BJP has been in power since 1995, 27 years. He’s eyeing his 7e successive term. From Keshubhai Patel to Narendra Modi to Bhupendra Patel, continuity of governance and administration gives the BJP an edge over its opponents. The main electoral principles of the ruling party, namely Hindutva, “twin-engine” growth, regional security and continuity in power, will probably remain in the foreground.

Prime Minister Modi, the star BJP activist, has increased the frequency of his visits to Gujarat and addressed massive rallies in several parts of the state in recent weeks.

Modi’s events were characterized by the introduction of development projects with the promise of more, while his speeches focused on the contribution of the BJP government to the development of Gujarat over the past 20 to 25 years. His highlighting of the “dual engine” “Narendra-Bhupendra” combination (PM Narendra Modi and CM Bhupendra Patel) for rapid development has also been consistent.

Congress hopes to end its 27-year tenure in opposition

Congress, for its part, hopes to end its 27-year tenure in opposition, but has remained silent so far, with its national leaders largely absent. Belying the optics and the theatrics, it actually has one foot in the field, with 62 seats currently in the assembly. Congress is the only party in the fray that is abnormally quiet, almost absent.

Former party chairman Rahul Gandhi was mostly absent due to his Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started on September 7 and will last nearly five months. The party showed voters in Gujarat the achievements of its government in neighboring Rajasthan.

The Congress’ key campaign platforms are inflation, unemployment, social harmony and the fight against the BJP. However, there appears to be a mild congressional surrender to the AAP in urban areas and a tacit understanding that the AAP is allowed to campaign and garner urban votes, while the AAP has ostensibly capitulated in the urban areas. rural areas of the congress stronghold. Congress appears to be acting passively to save its flagship by retaining the seats it won in 2017.

AAP’s intense “campaign” and alluring “freebies”

The fledgling AAP is the recent entrant into the poll-bound electrified state that has surprised everyone with its intense “campaigning” and pre-poll “guarantees,” if the euphemism is to be applied for “freebies.”

The AAP relies on its “revise”, in order to attract Gujarati voters. A litany of pre-election promises were delivered by Arvind Kejriwal during his multiple visits to Gujarat in the recent past, including free electricity up to 300 units for each household per month; a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 for all women over the age of 18; a waiver of all pending electricity bills issued before December 31, 2021; free energy for agriculture; and a monthly allowance of Rs 3,000 for the young unemployed. Much to his dismay, “Kejriwal’s gratuitous cultural gimmick – often his main electoral board – will not survive in Gujarat territory”, notes Gujarat columnist Gopal Goswami.

Debate over freebies versus welfare

The AAP and BJP have been at loggerheads for several weeks over the freebies vs. welfare debate, where the BJP supposedly appears to be projecting its advantage by clinging to the Supreme Court’s observation against the “revadi culture, which can lead to an imminent failure of the state”.

Moreover, except for this altercation, the 10-year-old outfit has been ahead of other parties in terms of launching its campaign and announcing candidates, including the CM face.

Kudos to the AAP for its campaign fervor, political banter and attempt to strike the right chords, including the ‘soft-Hindutva’ jugular: the AAP supremo is seen visiting Hindu temples, imploring the Prime minister to print currency depicting Bhagwan Ganesh and Devi Lakshmi Mata, and offering senior citizens a free trip to Ayodhya if they voted in office in Gujarat.

But what AAP lacks is consistency of position and vision. The disparity and incongruity of his position are glaring for voters. Kejriwal must stop his state party leader, Gopal Italia, from spitting vitriol, berating Hindus and denigrating their faith if he is to go neck and neck with the BJP.

The Congress, on the other hand, has a lot of potential if it abandons the Gandhis and focuses on developing regional and youth leaders.

Either way, the AAP has gained ground and around 10% of the votes will transfer from Congress to the AAP, while the BJP remains steadfast and indomitable.

Yuvraj Pokharna is a freelance journalist and columnist. He tweets at @pokharnaprince. The opinions expressed are personal.

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