Along with the BJP-Congress, many national and regional parties are fighting in the Gujarat Assembly Election 2022. But if we look at the political history of the state, the main contest here has been between the BJP and the Congress. No third party has been accepted by the people of Gujarat in the last 20 years. Most of the parties have proved to be vote-cutters.
Many regional parties including Aam Aadmi Party, NCP, AIMIM, BTP are trying their luck in this election. But the competition is not that easy for them. On one hand, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party is trying to find its land in the state. So AIMIM has entered the fray on the basis of Muslim voters. However, other parties have been accusing AIMIM of being the B-team of BJP. Bharatiya Tribal Party is also beating the ground in the election field. But this time the father and son themselves have come face to face.
Tribal Belt and Indian Tribal Party
According to the 2011 census, there are 89.17 lakh tribals in Gujarat, which is about 15 percent of the total population of the state. Tribal communities live largely in the 14 eastern districts of the state. At the same time, 27 seats in the assembly are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes. Tribals in Gujarat are considered traditional voters of Congress. In the 2017 assembly elections, out of these 27 tribal seats, the Congress won maximum 17 seats. At the same time, only 8 seats came in BJP’s account. On the other hand, BTP had captured two seats.
BTP stuck in father-son fight
It was being said that this time the BTP could make a dent in the vote bank of the Congress in the tribal belt. But the party is embroiled in a family feud. BTP founder Chhotu Vasava and his son Mahesh Vasava have come face to face. The whole controversy started with the announcement of BTP candidates. Mahesh Vasava announced to contest the election from Jhagadia seat by cutting the leaf of his own father. Please tell that from this seat his father Chhotu Vasava has won the election for 7 consecutive times since 1990. After the announcement of the son, the father has filed an independent nomination.
Jhagadia is such an assembly in Gujarat where BJP has never been able to win, but the situation in 2022 elections has become very different. This has become a hot seat due to father-son coming face to face. At the same time, it is also discussed that BJP, Congress or AAP can benefit in the fight between father and son.
Please tell that tribal leader Chhotu Vasava was with JDU from 1990 to 2017. He formed the BTP just before the 2017 assembly elections. After this, before the Gujarat Panchayat elections in 2020, it had an electoral alliance with AIMIM led by Asaduddin Owaisi and this year with AAP. However, Vasava severed ties with AAP and claimed that Kejriwal was working at the behest of BJP.
How was BTP’s performance in the last elections?
In the 2017 assembly elections, the BTP had an alliance with the Congress. BTP fielded its candidates on 6 seats. Out of which 2 candidates had won. At the same time, the deposits of 4 candidates were forfeited. Whereas the party got only 0.74 percent votes.
NCP with Congress in the electoral fray
Congress and NCP are together in this assembly elections. Out of 182 assembly seats in the state, NCP is contesting only on three seats – Umreth (Anand district), Naroda (Ahmedabad) and Deogarh (Dahod district). All these three seats are currently occupied by the ruling BJP.
If we talk about the last elections, in 2017, NCP fielded candidates on 58 seats and won only 1 seat (Umreth). The deposits of 56 candidates were forfeited. The party got only 0.62 percent of the total votes.
In the 2012 elections, the party had performed better than in the 2017 elections. The party fielded candidates on 12 seats and won two. The party got 0.95 per cent votes. In 2007, the party fielded 10 candidates and 3 won. The party got 1.05 per cent votes.
8 percent dalit population but no mass base of BSP
The population of Dalits in Gujarat is about eight percent. They have the power to directly influence the results of 12 to 15 seats with their vote. 13 seats in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly are reserved for SCs. But despite having such a large Dalit population, the BSP does not have a mass base in the state.
In the 2017 assembly elections, BSP contested on 139 seats and the deposits of all the candidates were forfeited. If we talk about vote percentage, then 0.69 percent votes were received. Earlier in the 2012 elections, candidates were fielded on 163 seats and this time also the party had to face a crushing defeat. The vote percentage was 1.25 percent.
And in 2007, the party fielded 166 candidates, out of which only 3 candidates could save their deposits. The vote percentage was 2.62 percent. The party had to face defeat in 34 out of 34 seats in the 2002 elections.
What is the condition of local parties including JDU, SP, LJP, Left?
In Gujarat, from Natish Kumar’s JDU to Samajwadi Party, Lok Janshakti Party as well as left and local parties field their candidates in selected seats. But in the BJP-Congress contest, the challenge of survival is faced by these parties, leave aside victory.
If we talk about the last election, then BJP-Congress got 90.49 percent votes in the state. At the same time, the remaining 9.51 percent votes came in the account of other parties including independents. Something similar happened in the elections of 2012, 2017 and 2002.
BJP has been in power in Gujarat for more than two decades. During this period, except the Congress, no other party has failed to compete with the BJP. This time also the contest is between Congress and BJP. But the Aam Aadmi Party can spoil the game of both in some seats. At the same time, the arrival of AIMIM can also affect the Muslim majority seats.