It is on the counting day of each election when the fraudsters descend on TV studios replacing the pollsters and political pundits as intellectuals and psephologists. While the pollsters take a back seat, analyzing how good, bad or bang on their understanding and prediction was, the fraudsters take center stage masquerading as analysts, try to convince that the numbers do lie in the process to weave a narrative that suits their political masters. Very confident frauds these are.
Today, again we are witnessing such an attempt being made on almost all TV channels when the assembly election results are indicating a clear victory if not a resounding one for BJP in both Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
Firstly, almost all of them conveniently ignore that there was an election in Himachal Pradesh too where Congress was ruling. The mandate in Himachal has been reversed in favor of BJP which seems to be sweeping the state with an almost two-third majority. Ignoring such facts that Himachal and Gujarat, both going into BJP's kitty make it 19 states under BJP rule from 7 states in 2012, whereas Congress is left with 4 states from 13 states it was ruling in 2012.
The Gujarat assembly election of 2017 was a much keener battle than 2012. There is no denying that there was a close contest in Gujrat after a long time. But a victory is a victory, and a number of 100 is a clear majority. 2017 Gujarat election was seen as a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi since this was his home state and a litmus test for Rahul Gandhi, as the new leader of Congress.
One can easily read the trends that after initial hiccups, the ruling BJP smoothly crossed the halfway mark of 92 and has now maintained a comfortable lead over the rival Congress and are set to retain Narendra Modi's home state for a sixth straight term.
The Congress under Rahul Gandhi has done better than last time to get more seats than the 61 it bagged in 2012 elections. The bitter fact for Congress leadership remains that Rahul starts his account with two defeats as Congress President.
But the fraudsters will tell you that it is a moral victory of Congress.
While Congress was facing corruption charges in Himachal Pradesh it could not save its face after one term of anti-incumbency, BJP was facing 22 years of anti Incumbency. One must understand that apart from the anti-incumbency against the ruling political party, the individual MLAs face the anti-incumbency the most in an assembly election.
The fact is there were several factors in favor of Congress this time. Apart from a high anti-incumbency, Mr. Modi was not the Chief Ministerial candidate like 2012, there was a Patidar agitation in which some agitators lost lives, farmers anger, disruptive reforms like demonetization and GST were pitched against it among business community and the relentless high voltage media and opposition cheerleaders campaign against it. This was possibly Congress’ best bet in Gujarat.
Remember that the textile market in Surat was shut for about 20 days to protest against the GST. The business community despite having complained about GST seems to have rejected Rahul Gandhi’s parody of ‘Gabbar Singh Tax.’
Hardik Patel's rallies have been drawing massive Patidar crowds, making the BJP anxious about Patidar votes across the constituencies where Patels are a sizeable vote bank.
If despite the growing disillusionment against the BJP, after playing the Hindutva Card, and fueling cast differences, the Janeudhari Rahul Gandhi couldn't win, he is the most suitable opposition leader BJP would wish to have.
If one looks closely, all the top local leaders of Congress, Arjun Modwadia, Shakti Sinh Gohil, Siddharth Patel, Tushar Chowdhary all lost, while Bharat Solanki chickened out. All the marginal votes that the Congress seems to have gained are being brought in by the Hardik, Alpesh and Jignesh trio. This also indicates that if they do not join Congress officially, Congress may end up perennially out of context next time on.
In this scenario, BJP winning by any margin is big and either way one chooses to look, the BJP has had the last laugh. It seems that there is unhappiness on the ground against the BJP, but not against Narendra Modi.
But how the apologists of the losers take their solace in yet another defeat? They will tell you that "Congress has won more seats than BJP in rural areas." They will tell you that "Amit Shah said they will win 150 seats while they could win only 100. Huge defeat." They won't tell you that every student goes into the exam hall hoping to secure 100/100. When the result is out, some pass, some fail. In this test, BJP passed, Congress failed.
If you look at the BJP vote percentage (as of now is 49.1%), it is more than its 2012 vote percentage of 47% suggesting that BJP's support has only grown, and not reduced.
The Congress, could not match the organization skills of the BJP leadership. A section of voters, especially those in the agrarian sector and the youth – especially those belonging to the Patidars and backward communities – did not want the party to take them for granted. But some of them voting against the BJP in this assembly election may not mean an ideological shift. In the Lok Sabha election, when Mr. Modi will have to be re-elected, they will come back to the party fold.
The fact is that BJP will make the government in both Gujarat as well as Himachal Pradesh. While Congress's corrupt face led them to another loss in Himachal, the Gujarat victory of BJP is undoubtedly a victory of Brand Modi.