The Gujarat election results is all about anti-climax. BJP has won majority and the question is about how many seats it has lost. Congress has lost the elections but the chat is about how many seats they have gained. Yes indeed this is the changed dynamics that BJP needs to take into consideration going forward. There are some in the political circles who use terms like anti-incumbency and pro-cumbency to explain this but the writing is clear on the walls.
The Congress party has surely shown some signs of revival. The Bharatiya Janata Party needs to get its act together now, if they want even a semblance of victory in the 2019 elections. There are even chats about the Modi factor coming to play. Many poll pundits say that had it not been for the Modi factor, BJP would have lost in Gujarat. Quite strikingly while BJP has retained all its Lok Sabha seats in UP, there has been substantial erosion in Gujarat.
Congress has shown a distinct rise in its vote share. The gap between the two parties is now almost around 1985 levels, neck to neck as psephologist’s would call it. The BJP increased its vote share to 49.1% from 47.85% in 2012 — a rise of 1.25% points. The Congress meanwhile increased its share to 41.4% from 38.93%. That is a sharp 2.47% points rise. Now if you also add the votes earned by its tally, the rise is well over 3 percentage points.
There is a segment that says that Modi’s policies and unilateral decision making have cost them the seats. Well, we have all been through the perils of a populist Government so I think BJP’s urban vote share remained intact. But the time has come for BJP to undertake some course correction.
Perception management today is a real problem for me. Whether it is demonetization or anti-corruption reforms, the BJ needs to communicate better with the masses. People who are voting for them also deserve to know why or how their lives will be impacted. Even if you see the recent FRDI bill, there is an aura of mystique and indecision.
Demonetisation, GST, angry Patidars, anti-incumbency, a weak chief minister are all real problems for the BJP. Narendra Modi’s popularity appears to be flagging. If they faced such hurdles in their backyard, it time to look within. Narendra Modi and his shehnanigans have to understand the need of the hour. Perhaps we have seen the largest amount of structural reforms in a long time but the masses also need to understand what is happening. Mr Modi should not always wait for the eleventh hour to communicate.
Creating the right connect with the voters is the need of the hour now. That alone will decide the course of 2019 election results.