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Result-day revelry

Result-day revelry
After a long time has a result day been as gripping as December 18. Enthusiasts were at the edge of their seats through the morning as the results kept flipping their sides. In the end, though, the wave went in BJP's favour. However, beating all expectations, the winds weren't as smooth as BJP would have desired. A victory is a victory, yes; but the margin of victory is an essential aspect that cannot be discounted, especially when battling out in the bastion state of the ruling party—Gujarat. All eyes have been glued for the last few months, tracing the trajectory of the Gujarat elections that have witnessed key leaders taking centre stage to woo votes in their favour. Rahul Gandhi surfaced with renewed vigour and Congress, for once, were touted to positively capitalise on the strong sentiment of anti-incumbency bustling in the Western state of our country. BJP is coming back for a comfortable sixth term in Gujarat, yet, today hasn't been as easy as probably February was, when they sailed through Uttar Pradesh without a single barrier cropping up in its way. Disconcerting BJP in Gujarat is an onerous task. It has been their bastion and their pride, the whistle they blew to victory at the Centre in 2014. The Congress was in for a tough task to even unnerve the giants in their hometown. Beating all odds, the Congress, despite not securing a victory, did come very close to shattering the dreams of the BJP. The Congress has shown a rejuvenated spirit and a strong perseverance that is essential to continue the endless battle in the game of politics today. The Gujarat elections have shown that the people still harness a strong faith towards the Prime Minister; yet, their faith towards the lotus party is dwindling. Saurashtra, the traditional stronghold of the party and a region dominated by the Patels and the farmers, voted contrary to its trends—tilting favourably towards the Congress. The Gujarat verdict has exhibited a clear regional split in voting as urban Gujarat continued to sway in favour of the BJP, with big centres like Ahmedabad and Surat expressing their support for the lotus party, whereas, rural Gujarat has displayed some hesitation towards the erstwhile government, gradually shifting in favour of Congress. The primary concerns that had governed this election were the failed implementations of demonetisation and GST, and prevailing rural distress. There is a growing sense, especially among the rural population that the government is tilted to favour the urban elite, turning a blind eye towards the problems of rural India. This sentiment has worked in favour of the Congress. To make further inroads and continue with the momentum gained in this election, the Congress must make unhindered inroads into rural India, where the population continues to remain severely aggrieved by the policies of the government. For BJP, the victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh is a major propeller that has further cemented its position in the Centre, and it can now be said, that BJP is almost set to assume office in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The results in Himachal have tilted entirely in the BJP's favour, unsurprising, since the hill-state has had alternate governments in power across alternate elections, since 1977. Anti-incumbency is the strongest sentiment that has ruled across the northern state. Coming in for a sixth term in governance in Gujarat, BJP will now surely attend to the loopholes that have surfaced in this election, allowing the Congress to make some inroads in the state. The Congress was never going to win Gujarat, it has a long way to go before that victory is secured. Nevertheless, its performance has been commendable and is sure to send BJP into a drawn process of introspection. The coalition with Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore, and Jignesh Mevani, bore its fruits for the INC that saw victories among the Patels, the OBCs, and Dalits. The Congress must take this defeat in its stride and move ahead to continue to challenge the BJP at the Centre. After three long years, since the Narendra Modi government has assumed power at the Centre, we witnessed an election that was gripping, turning tables and switching in favour of either side by the minute. This is the spirit that complements the idea of India's vivacious democracy. The Congress must restlessly resume its performance in the coming year, as three key states—Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka—go on to fight for their assemblies. An undeterred BJP is detrimental for the country and for the party alike. An opposition plays a crucial role in strengthening the Centre and rejuvenating the spirit of democratic battle. The Congress can pat its back for a commendable performance in Gujarat, it could not have done much better. Yet, the night is young and 2019 is just within sight.

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