Gujarat Votes For PM Modi’s Third Term


The electoral message from Gujarat is crystal clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains the single-most popular leader, and the people of the state are going to firmly stand behind him when the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party bids for a consecutive third term on the national stage in 2024 general polls.

In response to PM Modi’s call for the people of Gujarat to break his electoral record of winning 127 out of 182 seats in assembly elections, the BJP made history in the state by winning at least 153 seats for the first time and retaining power for the seventh term. The mandate has ensured that the BJP will now remain in office in Gujarat for 32 years, the longest the BJP has remained in power in any state. 

To further humiliate its opponents, both the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, the BJP has not only managed to win a record number of seats, but it has also managed to increase its vote share to 53%. This is the highest vote share the BJP has ever managed to secure in Gujarat. During the 2017 state polls, the BJP had managed to get a vote share of 49%, but this time its vote share has breached the 50% mark for the first time.   

“This is an unprecedented electoral verdict for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This result will not only help PM Modi both nationally and within the BJP as the most popular leader, but it will also help Home Minister Amit Shah consolidate his own position within the party as he is seen as the principal strategist of this verdict,” said Amit Dholakia, head of the department of political science at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.       

The historic electoral verdict in Gujarat has aided the ruling BJP in bridging the gap between its Lok Sabha performance and assembly election results in Gujarat. In the past two general elections, the BJP managed to dominate in 167 assembly segments in 2014 and 165 assembly segments in 2019 polls, which helped the party win all 26 Lok Sabha seats in both the general elections. 

However, a similar electoral dominance was never achieved in assembly polls. It is the first time that the performance in assembly polls is almost identical to Lok Sabha polls. In the 2019 general elections, when the BJP was re-elected with a larger margin in Lok Sabha, it received a 60% of the votes in Gujarat by leading in at least 165 assembly segments.

When PM Modi, then the chief minister of Gujarat, ran for the top job in 2014, the BJP managed to lead in at least 167 assembly seats. 

“The people’s verdict, which has effectively bridged the gap between Lok Sabha results and assembly polls, demonstrates that the BJP is in a comfortable position and a total rejection of both the Congress and the AAP,” Dholakia said. “People have sent out a message that they believe only the BJP can provide a stable government. Except for Left parties in West Bengal, no other political party has managed to return to power for seventh consecutive term anywhere in India.”   

The verdicts in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are also significant because they kickstart a direct face-off between the BJP and the Congress in at least four other states before the 2024 general elections. The impact of the BJP’s electoral dominance in Gujarat can play a role in influencing the mood of voters in favour of the BJP in these four states. 

The four states where the BJP and Congress will face off again are Karnataka, which goes to polls in April-May 2023; and Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, which go to polls in January 2024.

The challenge for the Congress party is that it is incumbent in both Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, and it will have to defend its state governments from a surging BJP. 

“The worry for the Congress party is that this verdict will further diminish its credibility as an opposition party in the minds of voters nationally. The Gujarat verdict will boost the BJP’s national standing under PM Modi. Congress has to start preparing because if it loses elections in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, then it will be in power in Himachal Pradesh,” said Dholakia.


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