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Is Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017 important for the BJP and Congress?

By admin

November 18, 2017

 

 

Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017

The Gujarat Assembly elections 2017 will determine how Gujarat will emerge over the next five years. It’s a state that had witnessed rapid economic development since 2001 when Narendra Modi first took charge as the Chief Minister. People of the state, and in many ways, that of India, eagerly await the poll outcome on 18 December.

There is a lot at stake. The results will reflect a validation of BJP’s crucial policy initiatives at the centre, like demonetization and GST, or will mark its rejection by the people of Gujarat. The results will also be an important indicator of how opposition politics at the national level will emerge in the run up to the 2019 general elections.

If Congress wins, all credit will go to Rahul Gandhi and will mark his ascension as the party’s new supremo. It will set up Sonia Gandhi’s departure into political sunset. A win here will boost a rudderless opposition and will create a strong base for regional parties to unite against the BJP in the 2019 showdown.

For BJP, a win here will indicate the business community’s thumbs up to the party’s gamble with demonetization and GST and will give confidence to the party to continue pursuing its economic agenda at the centre and state level.

In the last two months of hectic political campaigning, Rahul Gandhi has received a fair amount of attention in Gujarat and has given a sliver of hope to party cadres across India that this could be that watershed moment the party had been waiting for, since the drubbing it received in 2014 general elections.

The results will also impact the fragile socio-economic balance in the state. The influential Patidar community is hoping to reclaim its political relevance in the state after being at loggerheads with the BJP. A loss for BJP will increase their bargaining power with the next government and consequently indicate how the 2019 elections will play out.

At present, Congress has no clear solution or agenda to offer the agitated community, and so it is unclear how the Patidars will respond in a post-win scenario, should the party make a surprise comeback. If Rahul Gandhi and his party fail to pacify the community, it could end up having a larger problem at its hands just before the general elections in 2019.

The result could turn out positive for the BJP at the national level, in case it loses Gujarat. They would have transferred their problem to the Congress, leaving the latter with little time to find an amicable settlement before 2019 and therefore, turn a loss into a political opportunity.

A win for the Congress will give hope for a higher political role to the Dalits and Muslims, two significant minority vote groups that can influence the political outcome in the state and national politics across India. Dalits have been fighting for social equality in the state for a long time and view the BJP as an adversary.

Post-Godhra, the Muslim community has experienced social stability and has benefited from the overall development of the state. In that sense, the community has been happy with Narendra Modi as the CM. However, the party has felt politically excluded since the BJP has not offered them any opportunity in the forthcoming elections.

A win for the Congress in Gujarat will mark a clear shift of support from the BJP to the Congress, which in turn could impact the terms of political alliance negotiations that will come up in 2018 as Congress tries to reach out to other political parties.

A win or loss in Gujarat by either party will impact the political future of two individuals and rivals who hail from here, Amit Shah and Ahmed Patel. Both are very powerful persons in their respective parties, and so their political future depends upon these elections.

Amit Shah is on a stronger wicket having demonstrated political guile in rebuilding BJP as a national party, while Patel is fighting to stay politically relevant. A loss here will certainly end political career while a win will see his political resurrection at the state and central level.

Political parties across India are closely following these elections, after all, 2017 Gujarat Assembly Election  is now at the center of national politics.

 

 

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.

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