How do people of Gujarat vote in assembly elections

 

Japan-PathakBy Japan K Pathak

How do people of Gujarat vote in assembly elections?

Do they follow some consistent pattern while electing the government?

These two were the primary questions that prompted this study.

One of patterns that has been visible is that, the people of Gujarat elect the government decisively.

Gujarat delivers clear verdict
 

Election Year

Leading Party % of total seats won by leading party in Gujarat Assembly % of votes gained by leading party
 1952  Congress  90.37%  Not Available
 1957  Congress  75%  56.92%
 1962  Congress  73%  50.84%
 1967  Congress  55.35% 45.96%
 1972  Congress  83.33%  50.93%
 1975  Janta Morcha Alliance  47.51%  Not Available
 1980  Congress  77.47%  51.04%
 1985  Congress  81.86%  55.55%
 1990  Janta – BJP Alliance  75.27%  56.05%
 1995  BJP  66.48%  42.81%
 1998  BJP  64.28%  44.81%
 2002  BJP  69.78%  49.85%
 2007  BJP  64.28%  49.12%
 2012  BJP  63.18%  47%

*Note: Gujarat was established in 1960. The results of 1952 and 1957 in this study reflect the verdict in Mumbai state assembly elections but strictly from present geography of Gujarat State(mainland Gujarat area which was part of Mumbai State, Saurashtra State and Kutch State areas)

 

The results of all 14 assembly polls in Gujarat since independence indicate that Gujarat decisively votes for one party and delivers a clear majority to it.

Gujarat State was formed in 1960. The figures of 1952 and 1957 presented here are taken from the results of Mumbai assembly polls but limited to the geography of present Gujarat State(then mainland Gujarat which was part of then Mumbai State plus then Saurashtra State and Kutch State).

Out of total 14 assembly elections so far, the voters of Gujarat have elected stable governments with clear majority for 13 times. In one election(in 1970s) in which the leading party failed to attract clear majority happened in extra ordinary circumstances.

The results suggest that voters of Gujarat prefer stability and clear verdicts. They like to tilt on one side. For majority of Gujaratis, there’s no confusion. This also shows that megawaves are successful here. Micro battles yield result, but fail to affect the overall megawave.

The table presented above shows how much percentage of the total number of  assembly seats, the voters of Gujarat gave to the leading party/coalition in past assembly elections.

If you observe it, one-to-one fight gave higher percentage of seats to winning party. When fight involved more than two political parties, percentage of seats of winning party went down. Take an instance of 1967 when Congress, Swatantrata Party(SP), Praja Samajwadi Paksh(PSP) and Bharatiya Jansangh were in fray. Of them Congress, SP and PSP were serious contenders. In other example, in 1975 the fight was between Congress, Janta Morcho, Kisan Majdoor Lok Paksh(KIMLOP) and Indian National Congress Organization(NCO), and this resulted into lesser seats to the leading party. However in others years like say 1962, 1972 etc the winning party could win good percentage of seats even amid the multiparty fight.

In last five elections, people of Gujarat have regularly given around 65% seats to winning party.

The top unified verdict was witnessed in 1972 when people gave 140 out of 168 seats to Congress with 50.93% vote share. Indian National Congress Organization occupied second place with victory over 16 seats.

Every election has its own flavor and own challenges for political parties in fray. Castes, religions, geographical divisions, polarization issues play role in elections, but overall the people of Gujarat do rise above such factors and give a clear verdict in favor of one party keeping in mind greater common good, or say State’s good.

So what should be expected this time? Almost all surveys and opinion polls recently conducted by various entities have suggested more or less around 65% seats for BJP which is matching to previous recent results. This on prima facie observation looks believable.

I must note at this point that patterns of voting are not unbreakable. In Punjab, the voters would never reelect incumbent government. Based on this established pattern, five years ago, all political pandits were of opinion that Akalis would not be reelected for second term. But the established pattern changed and Akalis were reelected to assembly. So while making prediction based on some pattern, political pandits would require to consider all other prevalent factors as well.

At present, the ingredients of disruption in pattern are not looking very strong in Gujarat. Micro battles may favor Congress at various places, but Modi’s megawave building exercise is yet to be launched. Past experiences suggest, it comes like tsunami and sweeps away micro/segmentary trends. Will keep watch on next phase of campaign and changing/prevailing sentiments.

My contact: japanpathak (at) deshgujarat (dot) com

DeshGujarat

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