8 Nov 2022

Gujarat Assembly Election 2022: Will BJP Overcome Challenges of Anti-incumbency, Inflation, Unemployment?

Ahmedabad: PM Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat goes to polls next month. This time BJP faces many challenges chiefly Anti-incumbency, Inflation and Unemployment. But the latest cause of anxiety for the party is collapse of a suspension footbridge in Morbi that killed 135 people. The tragedy has angered many but is not likely to dimnish the BJP's popularity in the state, according to analysts.

Anti-incumbency wave

BJP may face anti-incumbency wave in Gujarat assembly elections. Apart from traditional rival Congress, it will compete with AAP which has promised voters subsidies on electricity and other bills. The BJP has registered six consecutive electoral victories since 1995. AAP hopes to become the main challenger in Gujarat, after sweeping the election in Punjab this year.

Gujarat is the home state of Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Even today, BJP is fighting elections in Gujarat on the popularity of Modi and Shah. The popularity of PM Modi is proving to be a trump card for the BJP.

Inflation and unemployment are big issues

Modi remains popular despite criticism of inflation and unemployment and BJP expects to emerge victorious in state assembly elections.

Home minister Amit Shah last month predicted that BJP would retain power in the 182-member Gujarat assembly with a two-thirds majority. In the last state election five years ago, the BJP won 99 seats while the main opposition Congress ended up with 77.

Facing criticism over joblessness, the BJP has announced crucial projects in recent months in Gujarat, including those by Vedanta, Taiwan's Foxconn to establish semiconductor and display plants and an aircraft manufacturing project by Tata Group and Airbus.

Hardik now with BJP 

The BJP had to face the wrath of the Patidar community in the 2017 elections due to the agitation over reservation. So it is now trying to reach to the Patidars. The decision to make Bhupendra Patel the chief minister in September last year and bring in Hardik Patel, the leader of the reservation movement, may work in favor of the BJP. 

On the other hand, the Gujarat unit of BJP has a strong organizational structure up to the booth level. The ruling BJP is relying on the issues of Hindutva, development and fast progress thanks to Modi and Shah. Shah is keeping an eye on BJP's election preparations. He is also considered the chief strategist of BJP.

Political scenario of Gujarat different from Punjab

The political scenario of Gujarat is different from that of Punjab. The AAP benefitted from the infighting and split in Congress in Punjab. The BJP had no special existence in Punjab anyway. There was a Congress government there. After the change of Chief Minister of ruling Congress, the party became weak in the elections. 

But BJP's dominance continues even today in Gujarat. Congress is at number two and yet to become active in state. The power of Gujarat is still far from AAP’s reach. Unlike Punjab, there is little possibility that it would be able to dislodge the ruling party in Gujarat.

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