Ahmedabad, Nov 29: In yet another polls post-demonetisation, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has performed in an impressive manner. Opposition was firm that the large amount of inconvenience caused to people due to demonetisation would result in their expression of anguish while casting the votes. However, BJP remained the number one ballot choice of electorate who participated in the civic bypolls. The saffron party won in an overwhelming manner, bagging 109 of the 126 seats. While 79 seats were retained by the saffron party, another 40 were wrested from Congress.
The by-poll outcome has ensured victory of BJP in 2 municipalities and 1 taluka panchayat. Gujarat unit of Congress has conceded defeat, saying that mandate of people should be respected.
Rude shock for the Opposition
The victory of BJP comes a day after the party won the municipal councils and nagar panchayat elections in Maharashtra in an unprecedented manner. BJP won 50 out of the 147 municipal councils contested. In terms of seats, BJP emerged victorious in 851 of 3,705 civic seats.
Ahead of the Maharashtra civic polls, BJP also stunned the pollsters by performing strongly in the assembly and parliamentary by-elections held on November 19. Out of the 9 assembly seats contested, BJP won 3. From the 4 Lok Sabha seats on line, BJP successfully retained 2.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi vindicated on demonetisation
Demonetisation was expected to create maximum amount of frustration and inconvenience among the public during the initial phase of implementation. Even after waiting for 12 hours in queues outside banks and ATM counters, electorate in Maharashtra and Gujarat have not expressed their angst. Instead, in both the elections, BJP has improved its tally leaving political pundits amazed.
Fading unrest among Patidars
While the segment-wise analysis of the BJP’s victory is yet to emerge, an indication has been made that Patidars have returned back to support BJP, which has traditionally been their ballot choice. The lull in their reservation movement, in addition to the judicial order to keep Hardik Patel out of Gujarat has successfully eased the Patidar anguish against BJP. The Vijay Rupani government has already played a masterstroke by attempting to bring Hardik Patel back on the negotiation table.
Jignesh Mevani, Alpesh Thakur remain non-factors
The outcome of Gujarat civic bypolls indicate that Dalit icon Jignesh Mevani, along with OBC leader Alpesh Thakur are still non-electoral factors in the state. Despite drawing large number of Dalit and OBC youths to their rallies, they have failed to create anti-incumbency against BJP. Both the leaders have launched an extensive campaign against BJP, accusing it of being anti-Dalit, anti-Muslim and anti-backward class. However, thy bypoll outcome has dealt a major blow on their campaign.
Agenda for assembly elections 2017?
Over the past 17 years, Gujarat has been termed as ‘Hindutva laboratory’ by the pollsters as BJP became invincible during their period. While Congress was reduced to a feeble Opposition, an optimism grew regarding the change of regime with the rise of Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakur, along with the Aam Aadmi Party meddling in the troubled waters. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s electoral rallies in Gujarat drew massive crowds.
Elections in Gujarat are scheduled in mid-2017. If demonetisation, Dalit unrest, Patidar agitation failed to dealt electoral blows to BJP, then the Opposition would face dearth of issues to unseat BJP from power.