Gujarat Election 2017 Analysis Part-1

A brief analysis of Gujarat election Part-1
Overall BJP registered less votes than 2014 and slightly more than 2012. BJP secured 60% of votes this time compared to votes received in 2014. Whereas assembly election vote share in 2012 was 48% and in 2017 it is 49.1%.

On the other side Congress vote share increased. Congress received 33% in 2014, 39% in 2012 and 41.4% in 2017. The difference between BJP and Congress has narrowed down to 7.7%. Right from 2007 the difference between BJP and Congress is reducing. The difference was 9.49% in 2007.

Independents registered 4.3% votes in this election and NOTA was 1.8%. No other political parties other than BJP & Congress registered more than 1% votes.

Starting with Surat’s 12 urban seats, BJP staged a total surprise on the most anxiously awaited and anticipated seats by sweeping them all.
Surat West
Considered a safe BJP seat, Congress fielded a minority candidate Iqbal Patel. From 1990 to by-poll in 2013, BJP has remained undefeated for seven consecutive terms from Surat West Assembly Constituency. Purnesh Modi kept it in BJP fold once again.

Surat East
Minority, Rana and Khatri communities have three way hold on this seat. Congress attracted minority votes but failed to attract Rana and Khatri support that seemed to have gone for BJP.

Surat North
Smallest constituency in the state, Surat North has dominant Patidar voters that went for BJP perhaps.

OBC and Patidars equally share this constituency where BJP’s candidate selection upset Bhimji Patel who contested as an independent. Despite revolt BJP retained this seat with Patidar support backing the party.

The most fierce battle between police and Patidar agitators was witnessed in this constituency as Patidars dominate here. Congress cancelled own candidate in favour of PAAS demand to field their own. Dhiru Gajera was fielded as per equation agreed upon. BJP’s Kumar Kanani still won this seat albeit with a reduced margin. Patidar votes that were supposed to change fortunes, didn’t happen for reasons unknown.

Another constituency where OBCs (Prajapati) and Patidars are equal in numbers. Congress too fielded Patidar candidate but failed in light of decreased support form both Patidars and Prajapati – OBC votes resulting in BJP doubling its lead than last time by 79,000 votes

Urban Patidar & Muslim plus Rural Koli Patels share the demographics here. Congress secured Muslim votes but both Patidars and Koli Patels seem to have supported BJP’s repeat candidate.

Outsiders and coastal Koli Patel voters dominate Choryasi. Both parties fielded Koli Patel candidates where Congress candidate couldn’t rally support from urban Koli Patels against BJP’s candidate who registered a massive lead of over 110,000 votes.

Marathi, North Gujarat Patels and Kanbi Patels dominated constituency Congress fielded local councillor and BJP dropped senior minister Narottam Patel and fielded North Gujarat Patel candidate. Still BJP retained this seat.

A mix of communities vis Jains, Punjabis, Rajasthanis and affluent business class Surtis populate this constituency where GST was supposed to be a factor affecting outcome this time. EVMs produced a result that defied all these expectations and a lead of over 85,000 votes.

Biggest constituency in Gujarat, Kamrej is dominated by Patidars and despite BJP winning last time by 61,000 votes lead, a manor upset was expected here following PM Modi’s forced shifting of election rally here. Congress lost by 28,000 votes.

Muslims and Marathi votes equally distributed in Limbayat where both parties fielded Marathi candidates. Congress secured minority Muslim votes on top and yet lost.

Apart from Surat another set of major winning numbers were contributed from South Gujarat in BJP’s kitty. Except from Narmada and Bharuch districts, Surat and South Gujarat gave BJP 22 seats out of 28. Congress managed to get only 6. If Surat, South Gujarat had registered a small change like North Gujarat and Saurashtra, then BJP would have fallen short of magic figure of 92.

Surat was the epicentre of Patidar reservation and GST agitations but inexplicably these factors didn’t show up in voting patterns. Even Patidar dominated 6 seats of urban Surat constituencies produced victories with comfortable margins for BJP. Bardoli, an OBC reserved seat along with Mangrol and Mahuva seats in Surat district too went BJP’s way.

In South Gujarat Congress gained one seat in Tapi district but lost one in Valsad. Congress didn’t increase its tally in South Gujarat’s tribal belt. Though Congress snatched 1 seat in Nijhar, Tapi district from BJP and retained Vyara.
Vansda seat out of Navsari district’s 4 seats was with Congress, where Congress legislator defected to BJP but Congress managed to retain the seat. Apart from this Congress retained Dang but lost one (Dharampur) out of five seats in Valsad. Kaprada was retained by Congress. BJP retained umargam, Valsad and Pardi.

BJP faced a drubbing in Saurashtra. Junagadh district was hostile to BJP where the party lost 4 out of 5. Biggest loss for BJP was of Mahendra Mashru who had been winning Junagadh for 6 terms. BJP won just Keshod. In JUnagadg district Manavadar, Visavadar, Junagadh and Mangrol constituencies went for Congress increasing its tally by one more seat.

Surendranagar district produced a similar result. Out of 5 seats BJP managed to win just one, losing all other 4. BJP lost a significant battle of prestige in Dasada where heavyweight Ramanlal Vora lost. BJP won Wadhwan and lost Limbdi, Dhrangadhra, Chotila. BJP fielded new faces as their internal rivalry and divisions among local leadership exploded in the face of ticket distribution and open allegations of cash for ticket were hurled at party leadership. Jhalawad witnessed one of the fiercest battles within the party and then rejection by voters.

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