bend it like amit shah

As I type this, the election commission website shows 95 wins , 4 leads and a vote share of 49.1% for BJP in Gujarat state election. Himachal has it 34 + 10 and 48.7% respectively

Year 2017 ends with BJP ruling 14 states, its allies in 5, Congress in 4, left in 2, AIADMK, TRS, TMC, BJD and AAP in one each. In other words 19 vs 11 for NDA - impressive

Note: above pic found on twitter

Look at it from another angle, given that Karnataka could swing its way next year (more on that later), from Kerala, draw a line through "east coast" - that is where BJP is not in rule (I mean TN, Telengana, even AP, Odisha, WB, Meghalaya,Tripura), apart from Punjab/Delhi  . I remember Modi once referring to the need of taking Vikas to the eastern belt like BJP did to the west :-)

 So now, what happened in Gujarat ? Caste ? GST ? .. some are worried that the caste factor is again creeping in, RaGa's soft hindutva is working and so on. Well, just like in any election, there must have been a combination of complex issues here as well, but for me a few points stood out

1) Though there has been an impact in the Saurashtra-Kutch region , where most say the "Patels" (and I dont know the nuances) went against BJP, the over all vote-share of BJP has actually gone up from the 2012 assembly elections by 1.2% ( 47.9% in 2012 ; 49.1% as of now on ECI website)


So, even if there had been a "swing-away" enough to make BJP lose about 12 seats in that region, there seems to have been a "swing-towards" BJP too - is that the rest of the Hindu's consolidating to avoid quota being given to Patels ? .... but not good enough to give seat advantage because BJP had already "maximised" in those regions, like in south-gujarat ?

2) Congress too seems to have gained about 1.5% vote share -- that points to the fact that opposition was less fragmented compared to last time (in other words , "others" percentage has reduced). But the 0.3% difference in the amount of gain of vote share was good enough to take away 16 seats from BJP. Well, that is how these elections work, it is not the over all vote share that counts at the end of the day.  In other words, it is much more tougher to win an election - that is why Amit Shahs are special

What are the lessons learned ? first and foremost, BJP needs a charismatic local leader in Gujarat -- well, to some extend one must sympathize with those who are in the hot seat of Gujarat CM ... the person is taking over from Modi -- people have so much expectations.. remember, unlike MP or Chattisgarh which will be going to elections next year where Shivraj Chouhan and Raman Singh have already faced elections as CM candidates, Vijay Rupani was facing this election as an incumbent CM for the first time. But then now is the time - for Rupani or whoever is elected as Gujarat CM - to start again from the scratch, with the new baseline of state level expectations, and deliver well. I hope the BJP leaders do not hide behind a simple "Patels went against us" explanation and fall in to the same trap as Congress fell, of ignoring the development and local-leader factors

HP too has thrown up a surprise in "defeating" Dhumal - I must say the electorate is getting smarter and smarter .. they know how to distinguish "person" and "party" ; "state" and "central"

At the door steps of 2018 with elections due in 4 major states, many states in north-east .. it is getting clearer and clearer - "elections are to be fought and won ; no body gives them to you on a platter"

Brain says "simultaneous elections" - because that is what saves money, makes efficient state-center govt combinations.. but mind says - keep it like this .. As Ravi Shankar Prasad mentioned on TimesNow "Elections are the festivals of democracy".. and who doesn't like small small festivals every year and a big one in the fifth .. as opposed to all small ones and the big one combined into one