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In Gujarat, Three’s Always A Crowd: The Either BJP or Congress Mandate Over The Years | Data Analysis

By: Nivedita Singh

Edited By: Manjiri Joshi

News18.com

Last Updated: December 08, 2022, 06:46 IST

New Delhi, India

The BJP has been ruling the state for nearly three decades continuously. The Congress continues to be the second largest party. File pic

The BJP has been ruling the state for nearly three decades continuously. The Congress continues to be the second largest party. File pic

Gujarat is among those states in India where a third front has never flourished and the battle has always been between the Congress and BJP, except in 1990, analysis of EC data shows

With 182 candidates in the fray, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has entered the Gujarat election arena all guns blazing. However, it is among those states in India where a third front has never flourished and the battle has always been between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), except in 1990, when the Janata Dal emerged as the single largest party, the Election Commission data analysed by News18 shows.

Between 1962 and 1985, the Congress emerged as the single largest party in the state. It got a clear majority throughout, except in 1975. The BJP came into picture in 1980 and within the next 15 years, it became the single largest party and holds that position till date.

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The data since the 1962 elections shows the state gave a clear mandate to a single party, except in 1990 and 1975. However, other political parties, apart from the BJP and Congress, have also attempted to stake claim to the state. But they couldn’t succeed.

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In 1962, the state had 154 Assembly seats, which increased to 168 in 1967, and have remained at 182 since 1975. This was done in accordance with the gradual increase in the population and territorial revision of the constituencies of the state.

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BEFORE BJP

During the early elections of 1962 and 1967, C Rajagopalachari’s Swatantra Party was the second major party in the state. In the 1962 polls, it bagged 26 seats and 35.31% vote share, which increased to 66 seats and 43.25% vote share in 1967. The party merged with the Bharatiya Lok Dal in the early 1970s.

In the 1972 and 1975 elections, the Indian National Congress (Organisation) under Hitendra K Desai bagged 16 seats (28.95% vote share) and 56 seats (43.06% votes), respectively. In 1977, it merged with the Janta Party.

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The Congress was winning Gujarat since 1962. But in 1975, it could not secure a clear majority in the polls, even though it was the single largest party in the state with 75 seats.

BJP’S ENTRY

In the 1980 Assembly elections, the Janata Party (JP) bagged 21 seats and 27.19% vote share. By this election, the BJP came into picture and stood third with nine seats and nearly 20% vote share. In the next assembly election, in 1985, the BJP continued to be the third largest party after the Congress and Janata Party. The Congress turned out to be the single largest party with 149 seats – a record that remains unbroken. The Janata Party was second with 14 seats and 25.11% vote share. The BJP bagged 11 seats and 21.43% vote share.

The BJP’s seats and vote share in the state started to increase, but the 1990 polls were different for the state’s history.

JANATA DAL AS SINGLE LARGEST PARTY IN 1990

The 1990 elections was the only time when a political party, other than the Congress or BJP, emerged as the single largest party. The Janata Dal bagged 70 seats and 36.25% vote share, while the grand old party slipped to the third position and got 33 seats and about 31% vote share. Also, it saw the rise of the BJP as the second largest party. The BJP got 67 seats with nearly 34% vote share, surpassing the Congress.

HOW 2022 CAN BE CRUCIAL

The BJP has been ruling the state for nearly three decades continuously. Even though the Congress has been out of power since the 1990s, it continues to be the second largest party and holds more than 30% vote share in the state. While several senior players in the state have attempted to make a mark in the past three decades, the AAP seems to be the most aggressive one, as it has fielded candidates on all 182 seats.

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Gujarat is among the few states where the AAP is challenging the BJP. In Delhi and Punjab, the AAP managed to woo voters by snatching the state from the Congress’s hands.

In the 2017 polls, the AAP made an entry into the state with nearly 30 candidates but failed to win even a single seat. Since then, it has managed to bag seats in the local bodies in the state.

The results on December 8 will show if the state wants to continue with its traditional voting pattern or will welcome a new trend.​

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