The Gujarat Elections 2017 were closely fought and it also brings to light the massive urban-rural divide in votes. The BJP gained 7 percent votes more than Congress in this election but lost 16 seats as against Congress’s gain of 18 (including allies). The Indian Express explained this paradox as a result of the massive urban-rural divide in Gujarat votes. The BJP got 1.47 crore votes (49.1 percent) while the Congress and its allies managed 1.26 crore (42.1 percent) votes. “In absolute terms, BJP’s lead over the Congress has shrunk to 20.64 lakh votes as against its over 24.45-lakh lead in the 2012 Assembly elections,” reports Indian Express.
In the 99 seats which BJP has won the party got a total of 29.67 lakh votes over Congress. The major part, almost 72 percent (21.26 lakh votes) of this lead is concentrated in 48 urban areas won by BJP. In 51 rural seats which BJP has won, the party’s lead stands at just about 28 percent (8.41 lakh votes). The Indian Express explains this as “a further urban skew in favour of BJP as compared to 2012 when BJP’s urban margins (across 52 seats) constituted about 65 percent of its cumulative victory margins across total 115 seats it had won.”
BJP’s victory margins across 99 assembly seats shows that the party has won with huge margins in urban areas as compared to rural areas. The BJP’s margin on an average in the urban areas stood at 44,295 votes (up from 37805 in 2012) while in rural areas, its average winning margin was just 16,483 votes (marginally down from 16,688 in 2012.) On an average, BJP’s victory margin stood at 29,968 votes across 99 Assembly segments it won in 2017 elections. In 2012, the average BJP victory margin stood at 26,236 votes across 115 seats won by it.
The Congress, on the other hand, lead across 77 Assembly seats and this translates into a lead of 10.28 lakh votes over BJP. However, about 88 percent (9,07,910 votes) of the party’s leads come from rural areas while only about 12 percent (1,20,043) of the winning margin came from winning urban seats.