The BJP’s election-winning magic continued in Gujarat with it looking to win more than 150 seats in the Gujarat Assembly, creating a new record besting its 2002 haul of 127 seats despite the mismanagement in Morbi which led to the death of over 150 people in a bridge collapse.
A BJP victory was expected as exit polls clearly hinted that the BJP would come clear with ease in the 182-member Gujarat House.
Wednesday is the D-Day with the results of the elections to the assemblies of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh being declared today. The Congress, again, slumped to a bad show and looked to net less than 20, Bharat Jodo or not. The Morbi bridge collapse seemed not to have reminded voters to go in for a reality check and despite having such a big administrative fiasco to highlight, the Congress failed in translating the disappointments with the Bhupendra Patel government. So much so that the BJP won all three seats around Morbi as well.
The BJP’s record victory can be ascribed to the heavy-duty campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah which seemed to have struck a chord with the people. The other high-profile campaigner, the Aam Aadmi Party, marked its debut in the Gujarat Assembly with 7 seats. Though a creditable performance, the Punjab buzz could not be replicated in the land of the Mahatma by the Arvind Kejriwal-led party. The Congress has reason to be upset with AAP since it has eaten into its votebank but that maybe a minor factor given the massacre at the ballot box.
In Himachal Pradesh, the Congress seemed to enjoy a spot of sunshine from the string of electoral defeats plaguing it where anti-incumbency and factionalism had weakened the BJP. Outgoing Chief Minister Jairam Thakur won convincingly from Seraj as did the rest of the party but couldn’t beat the Congress in the state’s continuing custom of swapping parties every 5 years. Like many would remember, Thakur’s feat was similar to the Sachin Tendulkar 100 in a match India lost in the late 1990s. In the 68-member House, the Congress was inching towards 40 seats. The BJP was at 26. Resort games likely soon.