ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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BJP’s Sixth Victory in Gujarat

A Puzzle

​The 2017 Gujarat assembly election revolved around Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was the main campaigner, and almost asked for a plebiscite—as the son of the soil. The Bharatiya Janata Party has managed to retain power, but the proportion of votes has reduced. Various agitations against the government in the last three years have not converted into votes in favour of opposition parties. The BJP’s party structure with committed cadres and aggressive campaign give it an advantage over the opposition parties.


I thank the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Lokniti, for providing National Election Survey data.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in Gujarat in 1996 for the first time following L K Advani’s Somnath to Ayodhya Yatra in 1989, and the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. In December 2017, it was its sixth consecutive victory in the assembly elections. Its vote share has increased by 1 percentage point since 2012. Its rival, the Congress party, gained 2 percentage point votes more than in the previous assembly elections. Comparing this assembly poll with the last Parliament elections in 2014, the BJP’s vote share has sharply declined from 59% to 49%, whereas the Congress gained 8.5 percentage points (Figure 1). During the 2014 Parliament elections, the BJP captured all 26 seats of Parliament with majority votes in 169 out of 182 assembly segments. Since 2002, all elections in Gujarat have been Narendra Modi-centric. During the last two elections in 2012 and 2014, he appealed to the voters, “every vote you cast for local BJP candidate is a vote for me” (Deshpande and Mehta 2014). Even though he did not say so explicitly, his 2017 campaign was a clear plebiscite on his performance as the Prime Minister.

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Updated On : 15th Jan, 2018
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