Gujarat Election Results are only marginally surprising, final tally is in favour of BJP with 99 seats and Congress winning around 80 seats. Few observations
1) This is an election where BJP was made to fight. This is not just about using political firepower but unlike other elections, channels like Times Now, Republic TV and ZEE had to become an extension of BJP without not even a shred of neutrality in their coverage. Local Gujarati media also became increasingly partisan as elections progressed. The Parliament session was delayed, all the resources were diverted towards Gujarat. EC even delayed Gujarat elections and their excuse for the delay was very flimsy. The delay helped BJP to partly tide over the GST anger by reducing tax slabs for certain items.
2) The Prime Minister in the last week showed he can go down to any level to ensure a win in an election, morality or the position that he holds doesn’t matter. The tougher it gets, the more poisonous his speeches will become. This is a trend that will be seen again because 2019 is not going to be a cake walk.
3) In the last week of campaigning, PM did everything from raking up Ram Mandir to stating that Pakistan wants Ahmed Patel as the CM to accusing Manmohan Singh of treason. Basically he came down to what he knows has won him elections in the past – Hindu-Muslim communal polarization. It was the lowest form of gutter politics.
4) 2014 Lok Sabha elections got BJP all 26 seats in Gujarat. If Modi and BJP fail to deliver some goodies in the next year and a half, 2019 will be a much reduced tally. MP and Rajasthan are two other states which will be watched closely. BJP won all the seats in Rajasthan in 2014 while winning 26 out of 29 in MP. For BJP to get anywhere close to their present tally of 282, BJP will have have to repeat their performance in these state which seems highly unlikely.
5) The obsession over EVM is becoming ridiculous now. Can EVM be hacked? Yes. But so can your phone, computer or any other electronic equipment with software in it. The question is not whether it can be hacked or not, question is whether it has been hacked or not. There’s a huge difference. If you disconnect your laptop from internet and never put a pen drive in it ever, there is hardly any chance of your laptop getting a virus. Same stands for EVM. At this point in time, there is hardly any evidence to backup the claim that EVM’s have been tampered.
Similarly, it was funny to see people lose their marbles over malfunctioning EVMS. In the first phase of Gujarat elections, over 24000 EVMs were used and out of that around 400 of them malfunctioned. That’s a very small percentage. Moreover, these malfunctioning EVMs were replaced by functional ones. Again, remember how your phone, computer, TV malfunctions? EVM is also one such electronic equipment which can malfunction.
6) As pointed out by Nirjhari Sinha, senior Gujarat Congress leaders like Arjun Modhwadia, Shaktisinh Gohil, Siddharth Patel have lost elections despite Congress gaining ground in Gujarat. At the same time, young leaders like Jignesh Mevani who came out on the street have won by comfortable majority. It shows that people trust leaders who are willing to come out on the street and raise their issues. While Gujarat was drowning in floods, Congress chose to fly its MLAs to a Bangalore resort so that Ahmed Patel could win his Rajya Sabha seat. Instead of standing with people of Gujarat during a time of crisis, they were lounging in a resort. Which is why Gujarat needs more Jignesh Mevanis to challenge the right-wing.