Skip to main content

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat ahead of state assembly polls in 2017
By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.
According to this leader, one only needs to divide the voting pattern in Gujarat into three parts: While the urban areas, forming about one-third of the seats, would almost all go to the BJP, as for the rest of the two-thirds seats (rural and semi-urban), one should divide them equally, 50:50. Half would go to the Congress, while the other hald would to go the BJP.
While I reported this in a Times of India blog without naming this Congress leader, then Sonia Gandhi political adviser Ahmed Patel, I was told later, came to know of this and “castigated” the leader for the observation, which said nothing but the truth. Indeed, the Congress won only nearly one third of the 182 assembly seats in the December 2012 polls, as predicted by this leader.
Be that as it may, seven years later, as the Congress faces another electoral battle as part of the Lok Sabha polls, have things experienced any change for the BJP?
Interestingly, one-and-a-half years ago, ahead of the Gujarat state assembly polls of December 2017, this Congress leader, who was once part of Gujarat’s civil society and worked extensively for tribal rights before joining politics (Shankarsinh Vaghela’s defunct Rashtriya Janata Dal, a splinter group of the BJP) in mid-1990s, repeated the same view he had taken in 2012 while talking to a veteran activist.
As he had predicted, one third of the urban area seats indeed went to the BJP, though as for the rest of the seats, things appeared to slightly tilt towards the Congress. The result was, of the 182 assembly, the BJP was forced to remain satisfied with 100 seats, its worst performance since 1995, while the rest, 82, went to the Congress+ (80), and independents. So, had this Congress leader’s analysis gone awry? 
To answer this question, one has to see, how real was this tilt, if at all? If translated into the Lok Sabha’s 26 seats in Gujarat, how many seats would the Congress be able to win in the polls to be held in April-May this year? An Assembly segment-wise analysis of all the Lok Sabha seats suggests, significantly, that that the Congress leader’s theory of the Congress winning around one third of the seats remains intact.
Assembly segment-wise analysis of Lok Sabha seats:
Votes polled by BJP and Congress in 2017
Indeed, the voting pattern in the assembly elections for the 26 Lok Sabha seats suggests that the Congress would win just nine seats in Gujarat, while the rest of the 17 would go to the BJP. No doubt, nine is better than zero, which was the Congress tally in the last Lok Sabha polls from Gujarat in 2014. Yet, it is possible to argue: 2014 was an exception, when the Modi wave swept the country.
Indeed, Assembly segment-wise analysis of the 26 Lok Sabha seats suggests (click HERE for table) that the BJP would be a winner in all major “urban” seats of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot and Bhavnagar; as for the rest, things would be 50:50.
The victory margin in the urban areas would be huge – in the two Ahmedabad Lok Sabha seats it is around 2 lakh, in Gandhinagar, around 2.7 lakh, in Surat and Vadodara it is 3 lakh plus, in Rajkot it is 85,000.
Indeed, what clearly comes out is, the Congress failed to make any inroads in the urban areas, where, to quote a keen Congress sympathizer, “even today party doesn’t exist despite wide-scale desperation due to unemployment among the able-bodied youth, on one hand, and the continued impact adverse impact of demonetization and goods and services tax (GST) among the small business.” According to this person, “The Congress lacks the killer instinct to cash in on this discontentment.”
Notably, it is suggested, in the 2017 assembly elections, even in the rural areas, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s coalition politics worked. It helped attract three major non-Congress leaders representing Patel, Thakore and Dalit communities towards Congress – despite resistance from the local Gujarat Congress leaders.
While one of them, Alpesh Thakore, joined the Congress, Hardik Patel’s influence got rich dividends to the Congress in Saurashtra, and Jignesh Mevani’s influence on Dalit-Muslim votebank helped the party considerably. The coalition politics, however, worked in the tribal areas, too, where Chhutobhai Vasava’s Bharatiya Tribal Party, aligned with the Congress.
Whether this type of “coalition” would work for the Lok Sabha, especially when Alpesh Thakore, representing an important OBC community, is dally-dallying, going so far as meet Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, is still not clear.
Meanwhile, if the assembly polls are any indication, the BJP has made significant inroads in South Gujarat, which was long considered a Congress bastion. The assembly segment-wise analysis also suggests that the Congress doesn’t win the two Scheduled Caste and four Scheduled Tribe reserved seats also.
A recent interaction with around two dozen grassroots social workers from across the state confirmed that, while there is considerable dissatisfaction, for instance, in coastal and tribal areas, and the anti-incumbency factor is pretty strong almost everywhere, much of the support the Congress would get would depend on the type of candidates the party puts up. Lacking funds, the party focuses more on those who can fund their own polls than on socially-committed candidates!
The view is pretty strong among Muslim social workers that the Congress “doesn’t care” for the community and “doesn’t give space” to Muslims. The “explanation” that the Congress is seeking to woo the majority community (Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits) only to placate the perception that it is seen as a Muslim party, isn’t either going down well among a large section of Muslims. Many wonder, given this situation, why not press the NOTA button?
The assembly segment-wise analysis suggests that the Congress would win nine out of 26 seats, but, clearly, as keen observers note, one has to take into account Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong ability to cash in on the “nationalistic wave” following the terrorist attack on CPRF convoy, killing more than 40 jawans off Srinagar, and the followed by the Air Force surgical strike across the Line of Control. 
The impact of such incidents is said to be particularly huge in Gujarat. How would the Congress leadership take on this new wave, especially when its young state leaders aren't equipped with even the basics of secular and democratic Gandhi-Nehru ideology, bewilders its sympathizers.   

Comments

Uma said…
Congress does not expect to do very well in Gujarat but hopes to improve its tally

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

A former Modi ally, Prashant Kishor wanted to enter Congress 'on contract, as trader'

By Anand Sahay*  The Congress Party and the election campaigns specialist Prashant Kishor, whose company has done strategic communications for a host of political parties across ideology, should both count themselves lucky that they could not reach an agreement for Kishor to join the party. News reports suggest that the Congress rejected Kishor’s terms. This is not wholly unexpected. People join a party because they are attracted to it, and wish to serve it in any capacity that the party may see fit. But that isn’t Kishor at all. He gave the impression of entering into a contract, as a trader might. If news reports are to be believed, he sought freedom to report directly to party chief Sonia Gandhi, and sought untrammeled control over party communications. When such ideas did not find favour, the consultant withdrew. It is clear he has no particular love for the Congress, and its ideas, ideology and politics. In contrast, look at the key personae in G-23. They

Govt of India 'compromising' on mandate to regulate gene technologies, protect nature

Counterview Desk  In a letter sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and other related ministries and departments, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has raised "serious concern" over the guidelines notified for Genome Edited Organisms, in which major exemptions from regulations have been offered to certain categories of Genome Edited Organisms/Plants and products. A letter signed by Sridhar Radhakrishnan and Kapil Shah, co-convenors of the NGO network, addressed to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, said, the Office Memorandum, dated May 17, 2022 of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology about Safety Assessment Guidelines, which follows the Office Memorandum dated March 30, 2022 of the MoEFCC, said, the move "essentially amounts to entry of risky GMOs through the backdoor. Text : Coalition for a  GM-Free India is a national volunteer-driven platform of hundre

A Marxian trend that queries undemocratic customs and traditions of capitalism

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  A very well-meaning comrade called me a pluriversal Marxist with a wild smile full of English irony, while chairing my book release function in the Marx Memorial Library, London. I dedicate this piece to her… There is no other philosopher who is more abused and misunderstood like Marx. There is no other philosophy like Marxism which is more demonised on a regular basis. The mindless vilification campaign against Marx and Marxism continues without any form of reason. The propaganda and portrayal of Marxism as a devilish doctrine signify its importance as a philosophy of human emancipation from the very forces who demonise it. Marxism is a philosophy of praxis which helps us to understand the centrality of creative power of labour in producing socially meaningful value. It helps us to analyse the laws governing production, distribution, consumption, exchange, market, profit, pricing and private property in the development of class-based society. As a humanist p