Can BJP oust Congress from Power in Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections on Nov. 9?

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So far in seven elections, Himachal Pradesh has alternated between the two parties, while Gujarat has mostly been a bastion, with 1985 being the last time the Congress won a decisive mandate. Since the announcement of the election date in Himachal Pradesh, the Gujarat government seems to have got into action that would go to the hustings, soon after. We are introducing a weekly column by our Associate Editor, Navodita. She will be analysing the Indian political scenario, exclusively in Different , beginning this week.

After a huge win by the Congress at the Lok Sabha bypoll of Gurdaspur, the Congress seems to be all geared in high spirits for the upcoming Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat this year. As Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar won by a margin of 1.93 lakh votes receiving 4,99,752 votes as opposed to BJP’s Swaran Singh Salaria’s 3,06,553 votes, Aam Admi Party candidate Suresh Khajuria lagged far behind getting only 23,579 votes. So what do the Assembly elections have in store for the warring parties? Here’s a lowdown:

  • The Election Commission announced the date for Assembly elections – a single-phase vote on November 9. The EC has said that results will be declared on December 18.
  • Congress’ chief ministerial candidate from the hill state is Virabhadra Singh who will contest from Arki while Rajinder Rana will contest from Sujanpur. Congress has released a list of 59 candidates for the forthcoming elections. State Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukkhu has been fielded from Nadaun Assembly seat.
  • The Congress is yet to announce candidates for the remaining nine Assembly constituencies of Kullu, Mandi and Theog.
  • Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti are among the party candidates, a list of which has been announced for all 68 seats by the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections.
  • Dhumal will contest from Sujanpur instead of the earlier held Hamirpur seat. Dhumal and J.P. Nadda are seen as the two most likely choices for the post of chief minister although the BJP has not named its chief ministerial candidate just yet.
  • The EC did not declare the schedule for Gujarat as Joti said several factors were taken into consideration for not conducting simultaneous polls this time.
  • Himachal Pradesh will be the second state after Goa to have polls at 7, 521 stations with 100% VVPAT machines linked to the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

So far in seven elections, Himachal Pradesh has alternated between the two parties, while Gujarat has mostly been a BJP bastion, with 1985 being the last time the Congress won a decisive mandate. Since the announcement of the election date in Himachal Pradesh, the Gujarat government seems to have got into action. PM Modi has made several visits to the state and is soon expected to inaugurate and lay the foundation for several development worth Rs. 1, 140 crores in Vadodara. The Congress has, however, since been slamming the Central government that the BJP pressured the EC to delay the announcement for its own benefit. The model code of conduct, right now, is only applicable in Himachal Pradesh and not so in Gujarat as election dates have been announced only in the hill-state. Major steps taken by the Gujarat since EC’s announcement of the dates are:

  • Rs. 6000 crore Memorandum of Understanding signed with United Phosphorus to procure agricultural fertilizers.
  • Seventh Pay Commission benefits announced for 15, 000 Nagar Palika employees in the state. Next of kin of those employees who die on duty to get jobs.
  • CM Vijay Rupani started off 40 out of 575 buses to be inducted in the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) and gave appointment letters to conductors.
  • 22 cases filed against Nalakantha farmers withdrawn by Home department.
  • Foundation of Aquatic Life Sciences and Robotics Gallery laid in Science City.
  • Zero- crop loans of up to Rs. 3 lakh announced for farmers. The move is expected to benefit at least 25 lakh farmers.
  • Lion safari park at Ambardi in Amreli district open for visitors.
  • 468 cases against Patidars withdrawn. These cases were filed by the police during the reservation stir.
  • 21 DSPs promoted to the rank of Additional SPs. This is the first time that a new post of Additional SP has been created. Eight of the 21 promoted are Patidars.
  1. Chidambaram, former union and home minister sarcastically tweeted after the EC announcement of election dates only in Himachal, “EC will be recalled from its extended holiday after Gujarat government has announced all concessions and freebies…EC has authorized PM to announce the date of Gujarat elections at his last rally (and kindly keep EC informed).”

While in Himachal Pradesh Congress showed a good performance all along with more than 50 % vote share in 2012, in Gujarat its performance has been dismal with even less than 40% of the vote share. While in Himachal, the tenures have alternated between the BJP and the Congress, in Gujarat, it has been a BJP-win all the way. The last election won here by the Congress was in 1985. As the Cong victory seems an uphill task, it is going to be a tough fight between the two main contesting parties.

©Navodita Pande

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Navodita Pande

Navodita Pande

Navodita Pande has been practicing yoga since she was 9 years old in Iyengar Yoga. In April 1995, she performed at the International Yoga Seminar. In January 2003, Navodita taught at Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mandir in New York. Navodita had a Yoga show on NDTV 24x7 and was also the official yoga trainer for Miss Delhi contestants in 2007. She currently teaches Yoga and Reiki to
people in Kanpur.
Navodita Pande
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