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Daily Briefing: BJP’s record win in Gujarat; Fifa World Cup resumes; and more

Get your day started with the top reads from today's edition: BJP sweeps aside all opposition to return to power in PM Modi's homestate Gujarat; The shadows of Neymar and Messi converge together again as they lead their respective teams into the Fifa World Cup quarterfinals; and more.

Your top news on December 9.

Riding the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who spearheaded his party’s high-octane campaign in Gujarat, the BJP swept aside all opposition to return to power at the head of a record landslide in his home state where it has never lost an election since 1995. Results of election to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly gave the BJP 156 seats; the Congress was a distant second with 17 seats, the AAP scored 5 on debut and others accounted for the remaining 4 seats.

With Gujarat voting the BJP back for the seventh straight time, this election has made history in the state: it gave the party over 50 per cent of the popular vote and the highest seat tally in the House at 150 plus minus a ‘Hindutva wave’ but at the same time making room for a new political party in the Opposition space. The key takeaways of the 2022 election are the formidable, undiminished sway Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds over his home state; the readiness of a section of the voters to accept an “outsider,” and the rejection of the fatigued Congress.

The BJP’s record-breaking victory in Gujarat illustrates the success of its booth micromanagement that complemented the popularity and the trust Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys among the electorate, while the absence of a similar strategy and organisational failure to effect timely changes cost it in Himachal Pradesh. What hurt the party in Himachal was the absence of a united cadre working behind one leader.

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As the BJP broke all records to return to power in Gujarat for the seventh consecutive time, Suhas Palshikar wrote: “What the BJP has done in Gujarat is to capture the entire gamut of public discourse and political culture. As a result, any potential challenger to the BJP there will either have to display extra-ordinary political skills to alter the ground on which political contestation unfolds or simply agree to play the game by the rules of rhetoric set by the BJP.”

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval recently hosted a meeting of his counterparts from five Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan — in New Delhi. The meeting, which took place in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the security situation in Afghanistan under the Taliban, flowed from the first India-Central Asia virtual summit of January 27 this year. We explain the importance of India’s Central Asian outreach.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda on the dais along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

From the Front Page

Tradition triumphed over ambition in Himachal Pradesh as the state, which has never returned a government in power, voted for a change yet again. Despite rolling out a galaxy of national leaders led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress got a clean majority with 40 of 68 seats, leaving 25 for the BJP and three for Others. We write about the key factors that worked against the BJP and in favour of the Congress.

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Although the Aam Aadmi Party could not put up a strong show in Gujarat, the glimmer for it was the 12.9 per cent vote share, five seats in the House — and that it had emerged as a national party (six per cent vote share in at least four states: Delhi, Punjab, Goa and now Gujarat). In several of the 34 seats where it came second, it polled over 20 per cent of the vote.

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When all eyes were on Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh on Thursday, smaller contests were being played out across states where bypoll results were declared. The Samajwadi Party won the by-election from the Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency, retaining the legacy seat of its founder Mulayam Singh Yadav. SP candidate Dimple Yadav, Mulayam’s daughter-in-law, won by 2.88 lakh votes, three times the party patriarch’s victory margin in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In a big upset for the SP, however, the fortress of Rampur finally fell. The seat was a long-time stronghold of former state minister Azam Khan, who has won a record 10 times from here since the 1980s. BJP’s winning candidate Akash Saxena said, “After Kashmir, Rampur is the only seat where Muslims are around 70% in number. And they have shown confidence in the Yogi government.”

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In Odisha, meanwhile, the ruling Biju Janata Dal registered a spectacular victory in the Padampur Assembly seat bypoll with party candidate Barsha Singh Bariha trouncing her BJP rival Pradeep Purohit with a staggering margin.

And Finally

It’s a tale of bromance, but also one of competitiveness and futility. The shadows of Neymar and Messi converge together again on Friday as they lead their respective teams into the Fifa World Cup quarterfinals, Brazil taking on Croatia and Argentina encountering the Netherlands. Theirs is a parallel but interwoven storyline that keeps overlapping, branches of one tree crawling into the other.

Delhi Confidential: Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar has revealed, much to the amusement of many, that the first congratulatory message he received for becoming the new Chairman of the Rajya Sabha was from TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

In the latest episode of ‘3 Things’, we explain the BJP’s landslide victory in the Gujarat elections; Congress’ win in Himachal Pradesh; and what it took for AAP to become a national party.

Until tomorrow,

Rounak Bagchi and Leela Murali

Business As Usual by E P Unny
First published on: 09-12-2022 at 08:07 IST
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