Mansooruddin Faridi/New Delhi
Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the Gujarat elections for the seventh consecutive time has a new element; the party has won from eight out of ten Muslim-Majority constituencies.
This essentially means that the Muslim votes did not get divided this time and the community largely voted in favour of the BJP.
The saffron party did not field a single Muslim candidate in the Gujarat assembly elections.
Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged that BJP’s Gujarat victory is special because it’s inclusive. The massive mandate it got in the elections has almost wiped out the opposition.
The AAP made a debut by winning five seats and Congress was reduced to 17 seats from 77 (in the 2019 elections), and the outcome of the elections showed the BJP has no match in Gujarat.
Congress leader Ghiyasuddin Shaikh, who has been elected MLA three times from Daryapur seat, lost to BJP's Kaushik Jain. Out of 10 Muslim majority seats, 4 seats were previously held by Congress it has managed to save 2 seats - Jamalpur and Danilmada.
The votes were cast in the name of development and prosperity. BJP candidates have won in constituencies with a large Muslim population and the elections have not split votes on religious lines.
On the other hand, the Aam Aadmi Party, which contested the elections for the first time in Gujarat, could not win a single seat out of the 16 seats in Muslim-majority areas.
However, AAP and Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM seem to have managed to divide the traditional votes going to Congress in these seats. AIMIM fielded 13 candidates, including two non-Muslims.
The total number of voters in Gujarat is 10 percent. Muslim voters play a decisive role in 30% of the seats. The 10 Muslim-majority constituencies are: Daryapur, Wagra, Bharuch, Vijalpur, Bhuj, Bapu Nagar, Jambusar, Lumbiat, Jamalpur, Khadia, and Danielmada.
A closer look at the ten such constituencies reveals that the BJP not only managed to win seats, but secured more votes for its candidate than the combined votes of the first and second runners-up, i.e. the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party.
In these 10 constituencies, the Muslim population is between 25 and 50 percent. BJP has registered its victory in eight out of ten constituencies. In some seats, the party won by a large margin. Limbate, Vijalpur, Bharuch, Godhra, and Bhuj are majority constituencies where BJP won by a large margin. There are only two seats where Congress has registered victory.
It seems that the division of minority votes is not behind BJP's victory. There are 19 assembly seats in which the number of Muslim voters is significant. Out of these, BJP has won 17 seats.
On Thursday, the BJP registered an unprecedented victory in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with its highest-ever score, breaking the Congress' 1985 record. The party won 160 out of 180 seats relegating the Congress to a weak second position while the Aam Aadmi Party, which entered the fray for the first time in Gujarat, failed to make any significant gains in the state.