This was BJP’s sixth consecutive win in the Gujarat Assembly elections. While the BJP chief Amit Shah had set a target of securing 150 seats, it seems that the BJP must have underestimated the growing popularity of the alliance with caste/community leaders like Alpesh Thakor, Hardik Patel, and Jignesh Mevani. The Congress, on the other hand, secured a huge chunk of seats in the election, winning a total of 80 seats, its highest score in 35 years.
Even though BJP came back to power in the state and captured the throne, maintaining it’s track record of 22 years, this was possibly the toughest battle they have seen in a long time.
The slight decrease in Modi fervor can be attributed to the aftermath faced by the traders after GST, the rupture of ties between the BJP and the Patidars and the distressed farmers. These were all of the factors that the Congress cashed in on.
The Congress was also made sure that the Hindus and Muslims were given equal attention, with the Congress leader visiting temples in Gujarat and also permitting a puja and havan inside the office while giving tickets to 6 Muslim leaders.
The BJP in return gave around 50 tickets to Patidar leaders and also worked on uniting the other caste communities. Like the Congress, it cashed in on the actions of Rahul Gandhi by reinterpreting it. Also, Mani Shankar Aiyar’s comments couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
But it still lost votes from rural Gujarat and from parts of Gujarat where the BJP maintained its stronghold like Saurashtra.
All said and done, it is safe to say that like the Gujarat Assembly elections, it is possible that the NDA will have to battle it out with the UPA in 2019 as well.