Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could manage only a modest victory in Prime Minister’s home state Gujarat. The poll results have brought many interesting aspects to the fore. One of them being the exchange of seats between the two major rival parties – the Congress and the BJP. Comparing the 2017 results with 2012 assembly polls results, it can be noticed that as many as 49 seats got swung between the Opposition Congress and ruling BJP. Out of the 49 seats, Congress snatched 33 seats that the BJP won in the 2012 assembly elections while the BJP grabbed 16 seats from the Congress. A glaring fact of this ‘exchange’ is that the 41 seats out of the total 49 seats in question were in rural areas. This exchange has largely been in favour of the Congress as the 33 seats that the Congress grabbed from the BJP took its tally to 77 in the House of 182. While the 16 that the BJP wrested from the Congress helped it go past the halfway mark to end with 99 seats. In the previous assembly elections, the BJP had come second on all these seats.
The victory margin of these seats has also declined from the 2012 assembly seats. The Congress won these 33 seats with an average victory margin of 12,033 votes while the BJP had taken these 33 seats in 2012 with an average victory margin of 12,517 votes. As for the Congress, the highest victory margin of 29,339 votes was in Jamalpur-Khadia while its lowest victory margin was 972 in Deodar. Of these 33 seats, Congress won 15 in Saurashtra, 10 in North Gujarat, four in Central Gujarat, three in South Gujarat and one in Kutchh. Four of these seats were reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) while three for Scheduled Tribes (STs).
Of the 16 seats that the BJP snatched from Congress, seven were in North Gujarat, four each in Central Gujarat and Saurashtra and one in South Gujarat. Fourteen were rural seats and two urban. The BJP recorded an average victory margin of 12,909 votes while Congress had won these seats in 2012 with an average margin of 8,245 votes. Among these 16 seats, three were reserved for STs while one for SCs. The largest victory margin among these 16 seats was in Jamnagar North — 40,963 votes. The narrowest win was in Godhra where 258 votes made the difference. The BJP had last won the Godhra seat in 2002. CK Raulji, a Congress rebel who contested elections from the BJP this time, won the election by a thin margin of 258 votes over his nearest rival from the Congress.
Out of the 115 seats that the BJP won in 2012, the party retained 81 in 2017 with an average victory margin of 33,543 votes — better than the average victory margin of 32,118 votes the party recorded across these seats in 2012. Of the 61 seats it had won in 2012, the Congress retained 42 with an average victory margin of 17.952 votes. In 2012, the Congress had won these seats with an average victory margin of 19,983 votes. Notably, the BJP saw its vote share rise to 49.1 per cent, from almost 48 per cent in 2012. The Congress, which had in 2012 around 39 per cent of the votes, this time won 41.4 per cent of the votes.