Gujarat: Assembly elections, 2017

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Contents

The communities

How Hardik, Rural Belt Took Cong To 80, December 19, 2017: The Times of India


Saurashtra Patidars ditch BJP, but Patels in cities remain loyal to Modi

Patidars have left a strong imprint on the Gujarat assembly elections and even though they may not have prevented BJP from winning for the sixth consecutive time, many would be happy that the ruling party’s tally has been reduced to double digits.

Out of 52 seats where Patidar component is 20% and more, BJP won 28 and Congress 23. An independent candidate won the Lunawada seat. The figure in 2012 was 36 for BJP, 14 for Congress and two for Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP). Quite clearly, this is a distinct improvement for Congress.

The strong performance by Congress in Saurashtra (Congress 30, BJP 23, NCP 1) is also being attributed to Patidar support though agrarian issues may have played a bigger role. Analysts are also pointing at reverse consolidation of other castes which helped BJP in the other three regions. At the village level, other castes are at odds with the Patidars who are envied for their political clout, wealth, large land holdings, enterprise and remittances from abroad.

At the root of the success of the Congress formula of KHAM (Kshatriya-Harijan-Adivasi-Muslim) in 1985 was this caste conflict. The formula alienated the Patidars and many of them developed a deep dislike for the party. This disconnect was finally bridged in 2017 with Hardik Patel’s Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) extending full support to Congress.

The aggression of Patidars may have alienated other communities resulting in a lower number of Patidar MLAs — from 47 in 2012 to 44 in 2017. These include 25 Leuva Patidars and 19 Kadva Patidars.

Two PAAS conveners — Lalit Vasoya from Saurashtra and Kirit Patel from Patan — won from Dhoraji and Patan seats, respectively. However, other PAAS-backed candidates, including Dhiru Gajera from Varachha, Ashok Jirawala from Kamrej, and B M Mangukia from Thakkarbapanagar, were defeated. Besides, BJP wins in Patidar strongholds of Surat and Mehsana indicate that Hardik may have had a limited impact on the elections.

Hardik, the biggest crowd puller after Modi, cut an isolated picture as he addressed media with a handful of his supporters as he blamed EVM tampering for BJP’s win. “I have been warning for three days now that a software company aligned with BJP has been tampering EVMs. There were many seats in Surat, Rajkot and Ahmedabad where BJP has won with a margin of 500 to 1,000 votes. This was made possible due to EVM tampering,” said Hardik.

C K Patel, president of Patidar Organisation Committee (POC), a consortium of six Patel organisations, claimed that the quota agitation did not make any impact in Surat or Saurashtra. “BJP has been wiped out in Saurashtra due to local issues like problems faced by farmers and small industries but Surat did not have any big issues against the government.”

Girish Patel, senior lawyer and activist, said that the Patidar anger was not converted into votes in Surat unlike some regions in Saurashtra. “Patidars in Surat, including those who have migrated from Saurashtra, are more affluent. The Patels from Saurashtra who migrated to Surat, are cut off from their roots… they are insensitive towards the issue of farmers and unemployed youths.”

Number of Patel MLAs

Cong’s gain is Patidar loss: Number of Patel MLAs falls, December 19, 2017: The Times of India


Patidars have left a strong imprint on the Gujarat assembly elections and, even though they may not have prevented the BJP from winning for the sixth consecutive time, many would be deriving satisfaction from the fact that the ruling party's tally has been reduced to double digits.

Out of 52 seats where Patidar component is 20% and more, BJP won 28 and Congress 23. An independent candidate won the Lunawada seat. The figure in 2012 was 36 for BJP, 14 for Congress and two for Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP). Quite clearly, this is a distinct improvement for the Congress.

The strong performance by the Congress in Saurashtra (Congress 30, BJP 23, NCP

1) is also being attributed to Patidar support though agrarian issues may have played a bigger role. Analysts are also pointing out at reverse consolidation of other castes which helped BJP in the other three regions. At the village level, other castes are at odds with the Patidars who are envied for their political clout, wealth, large land holdings, enterprise and remittances from abroad.

At the root of the success of the Congress formula of KHAM (Kshatriya-Harijan-Adivasi-Muslim) in 1985 was this caste conflict. The formula alienated the Patidars and many of them developed a deep dislike for the party. This disconnect was finally bridged in 2017 with Hardik Patel's Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) extending full support to the Congress.

The aggression of Patidars may have alienated other communities resulting in a lower number of Patidar MLAs - from 47 in 2012 to 44 in 2017. These include 25 Leuva Patidars and 19 Kadva Patidars.

Two PAAS conveners - Lalit Vasoya from Saurashtra and Kirit Patel from Patan - won from Dhoraji and Patan seats, respectively. However, other PAAS backed candidates including Dhiru Gajera from Varachha Ashok Jirawala from Kamrej and B M Mangukia from Thakkarbapanagar tasted defeat. Besides, BJP wins in Patidar strongholds of Surat and Mehsana indicate that Hardik may have had a limited impact on the elections.

Hardik, the biggest crowd puller after Modi, cut an isolated picture as he addressed media with a handful of his supporters as he blamed EVM tampering for BJP's win. “I have been warning since three days that a software company aligned with BJP has been tampering with EVMs. There were many seats in Surat, Rajkot and Ahmedabad where BJP has won with thin margin of 500 to 1000 votes. This was made possible due to EVM tampering,”said Hardik.

 Cong keeps tribal seats, but BJP vote share up

Cong keeps tribal seats, but BJP vote share up, December 19, 2017: The Times of India


The Congress retained its hold on Gujarat’s tribal reserved seats, winning 15 of the 27 and seeing its ally, Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), pick up two seats. The BJP was kept down to its lowest tally since 2002, but has reason for cheer with its vote share in these ST seats significantly up from 2012.

In 2002, the year of the post-Godhra riots, the BJP had won 13 of the 26 seats then reserved for tribals while the Congress had to settle for just 11. Since then, however, the Congress has consistently won more seats than the BJP in assembly polls. Yet, the nine seats won by the BJP this time are lower than the 10 it won last time or the 11in 2007.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had led in 19 of these seats and garnered a vote share of 48.8% compared with the Congress’s 8 leads and vote share of 40.7%. That, however, cannot be a like to like comparison given the fact that those were parliamentary polls and the Narendra Modi wave swept Gujarat as he bid to become Prime Minister.

In comparison with 2012, the BJP’s vote share in the 27 seats has risen by about five percentage points while the Congress share has declined by about four percentage points. That must be seen though in the context of the fact that it did not contest four of the seats, leaving them to its ally. The BTP’s share of 4.7%, if added to the Congress share, would take the total to 46.2%, a tad above what the Congress won by itself five years ago. Clearly, therefore, it was the alliance with the BTP that helped the Congress contain what could have been saffron inroads into its traditional bastion.

Impact of-

5 key takeaways

December 19, 2017: The Times of India


1. GST and demonetisation

Could cease to be poll issues with the BJP prevailing in urban areas and largely retaining non-Patel vote.

2. Hindu turn

Congress put anti-Modi issues like the 2002 riots in deep freeze and Rahul's temple visits gave its campaign a 'soft Hindu' flavour. The BJP's current dominance could make this a lasting trend.

3. Caste quotas

The Patel agitation took a heavy toll on BJP but could not unseat it. The limits of quotas were exposed as the reservation demand made other communities wary.

4. Farm distress

Anger of cotton and peanut farmers over crop prices hurt BJP. Modi government may need to consider more pro-farmer policies, and pressure for loan waivers will rise.

5. Youth and jobs

Young voters have signalled impatience over stagnant employment. Slow-to-moderate growth could hurt BJP unless a trunaround happens well before 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Performance, AAP

All 33 AAP candidates lose deposits in Gujarat

December 19, 2017: The Times of India


HIGHLIGHTS

AAP, which was testing waters in Gujarat, fielded 33 candidates, all whom lost their deposit

Commenting on AAP’s performance, another party functionary asked: “How can the performance be good if the EVMs are tampered with?”


Aam Aadmi Party said that "EVMs have won and Gujarat has lost". AAP sought to know why the Election Commission wasn't ready to count at least 25% of VVPAT slips if the EVMs used in the polls were not tampered with.

AAP, which was testing waters in Gujarat, fielded 33 candidates, all whom lost their deposit. "The VVPAT slips should be counted and tallied with the results of the EVMs. Without that, it's a fixed match. There was virtually no crowd at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rallies and anxiety was writ large in the BJP camp. Hardik Patel's rallies were extremely crowded. How can they win so easily in such a situation?" AAP spokesperson Saurab Bharadwaj asked.

He claimed that EC's decision to count VVPAT slips from one booth in each assembly constituency was a farce and did nothing to clear doubts over the credibility of EVMs. "We are not Class V students. We know that VVPAT slips of those booths where EVM tampering did not take place would be counted by EC. Slips of VVPATs picked up from random booths should be counted," he said.

Commenting on AAP's performance, another party functionary asked: "How can the performance be good if the EVMs are tampered with?"

Performance, BJP

Why BJP Got More Votes, But Fewer Seats

Why BJP Got More Votes, But Fewer Seats, December 19, 2017: The Times of India

Margins of victory in Gujarat-Assembly elections, 2012, 2017
From: Why BJP Got More Votes, But Fewer Seats, December 19, 2017: The Times of India

Vote Share Rises To 49%, But Seat Tally Drops By 16

Slice and dice the Gujarat results along rural-urban axes, reserved and unreserved seats or by regions, and the seat tallies would convey the impression that there are sharp differences in the way different parts or sections of the state voted. Yet, look at the vote shares and a somewhat surprising pattern emerges. Across all of these divides, the BJP’s vote share is higher than that of the Congress.

This is true for every region, it is true for the rural/rurban/urban categories and whether it is SC or ST reserved seats or unreserved seats. Of course, the gap between the vote shares of the two parties would differ in each of these cases, but in every one of them Congress is behind BJP.

That is quite a surprise given the seat shares where, for instance, Congress has trounced the ruling party in the rural areas. Indeed, for the state as a whole BJP’s vote share of 49.1% in these polls is a slight improvement over the 47.9% it achieved in 2012 though a huge comedown if one were to compare it with the 59.1% share it got in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Congress too improved its vote share from 38.9% five years ago to 41.4% this time.

But that still meant it was nearly 8 percentage points behind BJP, only a marginally smaller lead in votes than in 2012. In a bipolar election, a gap of that magnitude should normally result in a fairly big win for the leading party, as in fact happened last time.

Yet, this time round, the fight became agonizingly close for BJP, which finished just seven seats above the majority mark. What explains this inability of BJP to convert its lead in votes into a more sizeable lead in seats?

One clear reason was that much of this vote share came from building up huge wins in the cities. In the 33 urban seats it won, its average winning margin was about 47,400.

Similarly, it won its rurban seats by margins of over 26,000 votes on average. Impressive as those wins were, it was an example of a surplus of votes not really adding to seats.

The Congress votes were much more evenly spread. As a result it was able to win more seats than BJP even in regions where its vote share was actually lower. The most dramatic illustration of this was Saurashtra, where BJP won just 23 seats compared to 30 for Congress though its vote share of 45.9% was higher than the 45.5% won by Congress.

North Gujarat was not too different either. While BJP had a 45.1% vote share compared to Congress’s 44.9%, it won fewer seats — 14 to 17.

Incidentally, this was the only region where Congress had bettered BJP’s vote share in 2012 but the seat tallies were almost identical to the current ones. Considering how much had been made of the Patidar anger against BJP in these elections, it is ironical that the 52 seats in which Patidars form a significant chunk of the electorate were the ones in which BJP won a majority of votes (50.3%) and of seats (28).

However, this was also reflecting a regional variation in the way the Patidar dominated seats behaved. Of the 28 Patidar seats BJP won, only nine were from the Kutch-Saurashtra region. In contrast, 17 of the 23 seats won by the Congress where the community is dominant came from Kutch-Saurashtra.

These minor variations notwithstanding, what would give BJP reason to cheer in what became a closer election than it would have liked is the fact that it finished ahead on votes in every slice of Gujarat.

Performance, Congress

Rahul's temple run brought 18 seats in Gujarat

December 19, 2017: The Times of India


HIGHLIGHTS

The exercise proved to be a blessing for Congress, which has taken its tally of 61 seats from the previous assembly polls to 77.

Gandhi visited 27 temples across Gujarat in the face of accusations that he was projecting soft-Hindutva.

Gandhi's last temple visit in the campaign, to famous Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad, bore favourable results.

During his multiple campaign tours of Gujarat, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi embarked on a series of temple runs. The exercise has proved to be a blessing for his party, which has taken its tally of 61 seats from the previous assembly polls to 77.

Gandhi visited 27 temples across Gujarat in the face of accusations that he was projecting soft-Hindutva. His visit to the Somnath temple stirred a controversy+ over his own faith, after his name was entered in a register meant for non-Hindus. Gandhi remained undeterred by controversies and mockery. In fact, he even made a temple priest talk with his mother, Sonia Gandhi.

Manish Doshi, a spokesperson of the Gujarat Congress, said: "The BJP mocked Rahulji's temple visits. But the results of the election show that he was able to connect with people."

Gandhi started off his poll campaign with a visit to the Dwarkadish temple in Dwarka. His party lost badly to the BJP's seasoned campaigner Pabubha Manek in Dwarka. Manek was seeking his 7th consecutive term in the assembly. However, Gandhi's later visits to temple towns proved fruitful with the Congress registering victories in 18 such constituencies. Out of the 18 seats Congress won, BJP had won 10 in 2012.

Temples which Gandhi visited and the seats on which Congress succeeded are: Ambaji temple (Danta), Bahuchraji Mata temple (Bechraji), Chamunda Mata temple (Chotila), Swaminarayan temple (Gadhada), Akshardham temple (North Gandhinagar), Vir Maya Mandir (Patan), Somnath, Umiya Mata temple (Unjha), Shamlaji temple (Bhiloda), Ranchhodrai temple at Dakor (Thasra), Kabir Mandir (Dahod), Ranchhodrai temple (Petlad), Unai Mata temple (Vansda), Bhathiji Maharaj temple at Phagvel (Kapadvanj), Khodiyar Mata temple and Sadaram Bapa temple (Radhanpur), Dev Mogra Mata temple (Dediapada), and Valinath temple (Vav).

Gandhi's last temple visit in the campaign, to famous Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad, also bore favourable results. Gandhi visited the temple when the city police did not permit his roadshow. The Congress won the Jamalpur-Khadiya seat, which is a Muslim-dominated constituency.

The regions

Urban-rural skew mirrors 2015 local body elections

Urban-rural skew in voting mirrors local body election results of 2015, December 20, 2017: The Times of India

The urban-rural skew in Gujarat’s voting patterns can also be viewed in the context of the delimitation exercise in 2012, which raised the number of urban assembly constituencies from 28 to 39.

This was the result of rapid urbanization and expansion of municipal corporation limits in one of India’s most industrialised states. That year, BJP won 35 out of 39 constituencies. The number has come down to 33 this time though the party’s vote share has inched up.

The outcome of the Gujarat assembly elections are very much in line with the results of the local body elections held in 2015-end, a few months after the outbreak of Patidar unrest.

While the BJP won all municipal corporations and most municipalities back then, the Congress had an edge in the zilla panchayats and taluka panchayats. Similarly now, the BJP has won in most urban and semi-urban centres, while the Congress is way ahead on the rural count.

Among municipal corporations, BJP today controls all eight -Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Junagadh.

BJP had won 43 municipalities and Congress just nine in the 2015 polls. This pattern was mirrored in Tuesday’s verdict with saffron sweeping 33 of 39 seats in these cities.

Out of 45 semi-urban seats, BJP has got 26 and Congress 19. The advantage has clearly rested with BJP here though the Congress has made inroads, given the fact that these seats have a sizeable rural component.

As for zilla panchayats and taluka panchayats, where Congress won 23 against BJP's eight and 146 against the latter's 79 respectively in 2015, assembly poll results for seats this time within these areas display a similar slant: Congress has bagged 52 of them while BJP has won 40 and others have secured 6.

Urban Gujarat stays with BJP, Cong rules in agricultural pockets

Urban Gujarat stays with BJP, Cong rules in agri pockets, December 19, 2017: The Times of India


The rural-urban divide in Gujarat has become even sharper in these elections than five years ago. Consider this. Of the 39 urban seats, BJP won 33, Congress just six; of the 45 ‘rurban’ seats, BJP won 26 and Congress 18. But of the 98 rural seats in the state, BJP won a mere 39, Congress and its allies 55.

Interestingly, BJP’s vote share was higher than Congress’s in each of these three groups of seats, though the gap was narrowest in the rural seats and most pronounced in the purely urban ones where it got 59.2% versus its rival’s 35.5%.

BJP managed to enhance its vote share over the 2012 levels in urban, rurban and rural seats, though in each case they were below the 2014 levels. However, with Congress also improving its share, the saffron party ceded a little ground compared to five years ago even in the urban and rurban seats, where it had won 35 out of 39 and 30 out of 45 respectively last time.

But what explains BJP winning far fewer rural seats despite a clearly higher vote share? Unfortunately for the party, a lot of the votes were used up in chalking up huge victories. Thus in the 39 rural seats it won, BJP had an average margin of nearly 18,000. In contrast, Congress had an average margin of just under 13,000 in the 52 seats it won. As many as 11 of the 52 seats were won by margins of under 5,000.

The same pattern held for the rurban seats too, with BJP averaging margins of over 26,000 in its 26 wins while the Congress average just about 14,000 in its wins. As a result, the six percentage point gap between the two parties did not quite deliver as much to the BJP as it typically would have in a bipolar situation.

In the urban areas, too, the average margin of BJP wins was way higher than that of Congress, but here the difference in vote share of almost 24 percentage points was just too much to allow Congress to benefit from a more even spread of its votes.

Cities remained loyal to BJP

Seats won by BJP and Congress in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara, 2012 and 2017
From: December 19, 2017: The Times of India

See graphic:

Seats won by BJP and Congress in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara, 2012 and 2017

Cong retained an edge in dairy belt

Seats won by BJP and Congress in the dairy belt, Gujarat-Assembly elections, 2012, 2017
From: December 19, 2017: The Times of India

See graphic':

Seats won by BJP and Congress in the dairy belt, Gujarat-Assembly elections, 2012, 2017

The results, region-wise

The Gujarat Assembly elections of 2017- some numbers
From: December 19, 2017: The Times of India

See graphic:

The Gujarat Assembly elections of 2017- some numbers


Nalin Mehta and Jai Mrug, Why Gujarat verdict heralds a new BJP 3.0, December 19, 2017: The Times of India

(Jai Mrug, co-author of the article, is director of VotersMood Research)

Gujarat-Assembly elections, seats won, party-wise (BJP and Congress)-2012, 2014, 2017, in brief
From: Nalin Mehta and Jai Mrug, Why Gujarat verdict heralds a new BJP 3.0, December 19, 2017: The Times of India
BJP loses ground in Patidar belt but still wons more seats than Congress, Gujarat-Assembly elections, 2017
From: Nalin Mehta and Jai Mrug, Why Gujarat verdict heralds a new BJP 3.0, December 19, 2017: The Times of India

HIGHLIGHTS

The verdict disaggregated at a subterranean level was as much about each party’s ground game & last-mile political connectivity between the message and the voter.

BJP 3.0 has managed to retain an urban support base, winning 55 of 73 urban seats.

Modi has delivered Gujarat & the extra premium he brings to BJP has been accentuated even more by this result.


While the bitter political acrimony of the Gujarat campaign - from neech politics to Aurangzeb and from Gabbar Singh Tax to Grand Stupid Idea - seemed to boil the high stakes battle down to issues of identity and economic distress, the verdict disaggregated at a subterranean level was as much about each party's ground game and last-mile political connectivity between the message and the voter. Narendra Modi has no doubt delivered Gujarat again to the BJP for its sixth successive term but the 2017 battle is the closest an electoral fight has been in Gujarat in over four decades.

This time, while Congress, fighting a prestige battle under its newly minted president Rahul Gandhi, adopted a me-too strategy on Hindu issues, the data shows that BJP, which had peaked ideologically in Gujarat, pivoted quickly under the radar to a post-ideological formulation in parts of north Gujarat and a huge swathe through central Gujarat to wrest previously Congress constituencies which tactically offset its losses in the Patidar-dominated areas of Saurashtra.

While Congress reaped the harvest of the Patidar revolt, gaining as many as 18 new Saurashtra seats (and about 30 overall) in a straight belt from Rajula at the southern tip of the peninsula to Dasada in the north, it was hit badly by its failure to retain its traditional constituencies in central Gujarat. While the caste cowboys delivered for Congress in the Hardik Patel/Alpesh Thakore heartland in Mehsana and Patan, their advances set off the making of a new ring of saffron in the adjoining areas of central Gujarat with counter-mobilisation by other castes. Incisive Congress advances into new areas were also undermined by its inability to hang on to many of its 2012 seats and that may well be the story of the election.

Gujarat was the original laboratory of Hindutava and it remains a BJP bastion but the 2017 result ironically is driven less by saffron and more by a welding together of new economic forces and social identities that have come together to create a new social matrix for the party. The only parallel we have for BJP's Gujarat ascendancy in the post-Janata phase is with the Left Front's three-decade long rule in West Bengal. Yet, both models are strikingly different. While the Left was driven by a clear rural votebank across set regions, BJP since the 1990s in Gujarat has had a dynamically evolving geographic imprint and vote base. It has kept wining elections with what we might call smart incumbency.

For example, in 1998, BJP was powered by Saurashtra-Kutch, where it bagged 53 of 58 seats. In 2002, its mandate was driven by gains in central Gujarat when it wrested the Godhra hinterland (52 of 65 seats in and around Godhra and pockets of north Gujarat) which compensated for its losses in Saurashtra that year. In 2007, this central hinterland went back to Congress and BJP pulled in neo-urban constituencies. Data shows that we may now have entered the third of BJP's avatars in Gujarat.

BJP 1.0 in Gujarat was created initially as a caste alliance against Congress's KHAM (Kshtriya, Harijan, Adivasi, Muslim) gambit in the 1980s, but in saffron clothing. BJP 2.0 saw Narendra Modi as CM consolidating the party's historic gains with his own special blend of personality politics and assertive Hindutva and turning it into the central pole of Gujarati politics.

BJP 3.0 is different. It has managed to retain an urban support base, winning 55 of 73 urban seats. It has similar support across the industrial corridor, winning 44 of 66 seats along with further and tactical gains in the south (25 seats as opposed to Congress's 10). Its southern push has been driven by upwardly mobile classes of rural tribals and the recently industrialised belts of Vapi, Valsad and Surat which created openings for a new kind of identity politics which BJP has leveraged.

Congress 2.0, driven by a renewed Rahul Gandhi may have fallen short of dethroning BJP but has made significant gains. It has succeeded in capturing the rural narrative, gaining a significant lead over BJP largely in agrarian Saurashtra and pockets of north Gujarat. The fact that the Congress charge was led by its new musketeers from outside the party - while its old satraps like Shakti Sinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia and Sidharth Patel lost -- shows that the gains it made with its new freelance leadership would have been far more widespread had it nurtured an organic leadership in the state over the years.

In the end, the bottomline is that Narendra Modi has delivered Gujarat and the extra premium he brings to BJP has been accentuated even more by this result. Along with the Himachal loss, Congress is now in power only in two major Indian states: Karnataka and Punjab. The results seems to continue BJP's hegemony but ironically, the signs in the rural areas of Gujarat may contain the green shots or the possibility of a Congress revival. Rahul Gandhi as Congress president will have to sustain the kind of political configuration he deployed in Gujarat while creating an election machinery on the ground that can match up to BJP's if he is to capitalize on the resentments of incumbency as we head towards 2019.

New legislators in 102/ 182 seats

Atul Thakur, Guj makeover: 2/3rd Cong MLAs are new faces, December 20, 2017: The Times of India

Both Parties Cut Into Each Other’s Turfs Deeper Than Final Tally Suggests

In the nail-biter Gujarat polls, BJP’s tally dropped by only 16 seats and Congress’ went up by the same, which may suggest that not many MLAs would have changed. But in 102 of the 182 seats, the newly elected legislator is not the one who won 5 years ago.

Of the 99 MLAs who have been elected on a BJP ticket in 2017, only 55 continue to represent the constituency they did in 2012. Similarly, of the 77 Congress members of the incoming assembly, only 23 were elected from seats they won 5 years ago. Apart from these two parties, the only MLAs to retain their seats are NCP’s Kandhalbhai Jadeja from Kutiyana and Bharatiya Tribal Party’s Chhotubhai Vasava, who was a JD(U) MLA in 2012.

Even of the BJP’s 55 returning MLAs, four were Congress members in 2012 and one an independent who contested on a saffron ticket this time. Of the 115 BJP MLAs who won in 2012, 45 did not get a party ticket this time and another 20 failed to win though the party backed them again. Thus, only 50 of the 115, or 43.5%, could retain their constituency.

In Congress, of the 61 who won last time, 41 contested the 2017 polls from the same seats. However, 10 of them did not fight on the Congress symbol but as BJP candidates. Thus, there were only 31 Congress MLAs seeking re-election to the same seat from the same party in 2017. Of these, 23 won, which means a mere 37.7% got re-elected on the party’s ticket.

This churn at the level of the individual MLA gets a little less subdued at the party level, but both parties have eaten into each other’s turfs to a significantly larger extent than the net gain or loss would suggest. The saffron party retained 81of the 115 seats it won last time, which means it yielded 34, all but one to the Congress.

Congress managed to retain 42 of 61 seats it won in 2012, meaning it ceded 19 of its sitting seats, though it more than made up through seats wrested from BJP and others. Of the 35 new constituencies that Congress won in these elections, 33 were held by BJP.

The saffron party, on the other hand, added 18 new constituencies to its tally. Of this, 16 came from the Congress (including four defectors), one from the NCP and one courtesy Inamdar switching over to the saffron ranks.

Women in the Assembly

Women MLAs down to 13 from 16

December 19, 2017: The Times of India


The number of women MLAs in the Gujarat assembly has gone down from 16 in 2012 to 13 in 2017. The strike rate of women, however, is higher in 2017 with 59% of the 22 candidates winning seats as compared to 2012, when 51% of the 31 women candidates had won.

Out of 12 women candidates fielded by BJP, nine won. Zankhanaben Patel won with the biggest margin among women candidates defeating Yogesh Patel of Congress in Choryasi, Surat by 1.10 lakh votes. Among the 10 women candidates fielded by Congress, four won.

While women battled men across the state, Bhavnagar (East) was the only seat which witnessed an all-woman fight between BJP’s Vibhavari Dave and Neeta Rathod of Congress. Dave won by 22,442 votes.

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