Election Results: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) cut into Congress votes in two states today, as votes were counted. There is a close race between the BJP and the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.
In Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, the BJP holds 146 seats. In 26 seats, the Congress is leading after a strong performance in the last election.
Eight seats have been won by Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, which is eyeing a big entry into the Gujarat political scene. The majority mark in Gujarat is 92, with 182 seats.
After an hour of counting of Election Results, the Congress narrowed the gap in Himachal Pradesh, which has 68 seats.
A few months ago, the BJP informally launched its campaign in Gujarat. The BJP campaigned with all its might and star power under the leadership of PM Modi. After the elections were announced, the Prime Minister held over 30 rallies.
While the state diligently swings between the BJP and the Congress every five years, the BJP is banking on the accomplishments of PM Modi for a smooth transition to a second term.
As part of the message to Himachal Pradesh, PM Modi flagged off a Vande Bharat Express ahead of the elections and opened a new AIIMS in Bilaspur. There was no mention of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on many party hoardings.
In order to focus on Gujarat and Delhi, the AAP practically dropped out of the Himachal race. Mr Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann held multiple rallies in Gujarat — neck and neck with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It has raised the slogan of “parivartan (change)” in response to the BJP’s “Phir ek baar Modi Sarkaar” (Another term for Modi government).
The exit polls, which don’t always get it right, predicted that AAP would barely register its presence in Gujarat, barely exceeding a single digit number. It is expected, however, that an AAP foothold in Gujarat would change the binary politics of Gujarat, posing a more persistent and strategic opponent to the BJP.
In Gujarat, where it won 77 seats in 2017, and in Himachal Pradesh, where the trend of the last few decades gives it a bonus point, the Grand Old party, focused on its big picture Bharat Jodo Yatra, is viewed as putting out a token campaign. Only nine seats were won by the Congress in Delhi civic elections — a state with more voters than Himachal Pradesh.
The Congress lost Ahmed Patel and Madhavsinh Solanki in Gujarat over the last two years. Ahmed Patel was the mentor and go-to man for Gujarat Congress leaders. Rahul Gandhi, who had led from the front in 2017, had been busy with the Bharat Jodo Yatra, so there was no one else to pick up the slack.
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