For many in India BJP’s spectacular or more than spectacular victory in Gujarat Assembly Elections 2022 has come as an absolute shock. Even the staunchest of BJP fans wouldn’t have imagined 156 seats out of 182 assembly seats that could go to the BJP. Although at least a month before the first vote was cast I had made a prediction that BJP can go past the 150-seat mark. But, today I want to talk about the shameful defeat of Congress in the 2022 Gujarat Assembly Elections.
When the campaign for the Gujarat elections 2022 started Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned the BJP cadre not to leave in a fool’s dream regarding Congress. He said that Congress is meeting people directly in villages and thus you need to remain aware. Many of my friends who were on the ground during these elections said the same that Congress is doing door-to-door campaigns this time, especially in villages.
But, if that was the case then the defeat of Congress wouldn’t have been this big. Getting only 17 seats doesn’t show that the Congress cadre was on the field and active during the campaign. Being a fan of Indian politics and being a responsible voter of Gujarat I observed that Congress for some reason wasn’t active during the campaign for reasons better known to the leaders of that party.
If we count their big and heavy-weight leaders in Gujarat like Shaktisinh Gohil, Siddharth Patel, Bharatsinh Solanki and the state President Jagdish Thakore himself didn’t contest the election. Why? The assembly elections are once in five years of opportunities that no leader, whether big or small, would like to skip by not attempting to fight.
Shaktisinh Gohil is a Rajyasabha member alright, but Congress was fighting to get back into power after 27 long years, and thus any big or impactful leader of the state should have contested in a try to win as many seats as possible, but Gohil was not picked. Amiben Yagnik who also is a Rajyasabha member from Gujarat contested against the Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendra Patel then what was the problem with Shaktisinh Gohil? One would wonder.
So one of the reasons for the defeat of Congress in Gujarat is its big leaders were either not allowed to fight or were not fielded by the party itself. Another reason I can get is that they didn’t look interested in campaigning either. Just compare the number of meetings and door-to-door campaigns done by state BJP leaders with the number of meetings Gujarat Congress leaders have done and you will see a huge difference.
If state Gujarat Congress leaders were not so active then the National leadership of Congress wasn’t active either. By saying the National leadership I mean Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Vadra, Sonia Gandhi, and Mallikarjun Kharge. Rahul Gandhi did only two meetings during the entire campaign period. Kharge did a few meetings but his Ravan jibe for Modi helped more Congress voters shift towards the BJP.
All the while during the campaign period I was thinking that who has planned out this Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi when two of the important states are going for a poll? This was probably disastrous planning. Even if the Yatra was on like it was posed for a few days during Diwali it could have been paused for the Gujarat campaign as well, at least for two to three days, but it didn’t happen.
What is more surprising and baffling is that the route of this Bharat Jodo Yatra never entered Gujarat. Actually at the time when this Yatra entered Madhya Pradesh from Maharashtra, was the best time for it to enter Gujarat as the campaign was in its entire volume, so to speak. Had the Yatra entered from South Gujarat and marched towards Central and North Gujarat and then entered into Madhya Pradesh it would have solved two purposes. One of course the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Gujarat and number two campaigning for Gujarat elections.
During the campaign time, I was watching a debate on one of the Gujarati News Channels and a Gujarat Congress spokesperson, who is an intellectual, gave a strange answer to a particular question. The question was why Rahul Gandhi was not campaigning in Gujarat. The answer from that spokesperson was that “he has other work to do as well. He is not the Prime Minister that he can come every other day in Gujarat and campaign.” Not only was this even after the defeat of Congress announced another spokie on a live telecast said that Rahul Gandhi can’t pause the Bharat Jodo Yatra just to campaign for ‘one state.
Now, if this is the thinking after not being able to win in a state after more than two and a half decades then wasn’t the defeat of Congress became a certainty in Gujarat? There was a lack of intent for Congress to fight in Gujarat and that’s what lead to this unprecedented defeat. On the election day itself I found a few booths not having a single Congress table and in the areas where people did find Congress tables, they got deserted after 2 pm.
What Gujarat Congress now needs to do is think about whether it wants to remain relevant in state politics or not. If it doesn’t correct its attitude and vision now then AAP may be able to take its place as the main opposition. Although this doesn’t mean that AAP may even form a Government in Gujarat next decade. But, by then Congress may become irrelevant in Gujarat politics there will be no chance for it to return to power ever.
By the way, 8th December 2022 will be remembered for the Gujarat Congress also for two reasons. This was the day when the Gujarat Congress’ record of winning the maximum of 149 seats in Gujarat was broken and on the same day, it created a new record for winning the minimum of 16 seats in Gujarat.
Till we meet next time, it’s Avjo from me.
10th December 2022, Saturday