If You Get 49% Vote Share, Can't Say It Is Anti-Incumbency: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

In a two-horse race, a 49 per cent vote and a 7-8 per cent lead margin normally would have resulted in the much wider gap between the BJP and the Congress in Gujarat, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told NDTV.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Congress had only made gains in 3-4 districts of Saurashtra


NEW DELHI: 

Highlights

  1. Congress 41.4 per cent vote share in the Gujarat assembly elections
  2. The BJP won 99 seats in the assembly election, 16 less than last time
  3. BJP lost 13 seats in its stronghold of Saurashtra
That the BJP ended up with 49 per cent of the popular vote in Gujarat demonstrates that there was really no anti-incumbency against the party that had ruled the state for 22 years, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told NDTV, explaining the party's lower tally than the 2012 elections to a gap in rural Saurashtra due to "certain agrarian factors".

In a two-horse race, a 49 per cent vote and a 7-8 per cent lead margin normally would have resulted in the much wider gap between the BJP and the Congress, Mr Jaitley, who was the BJP's election in-charge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state.

But when it came down to the number of seats, the party didn't end up with as many seats as it normally would have, he said, dismissing suggestions from the Congress and others that the BJP was up against a massive anti-incumbency on account of the two decades that it had been in power in the state,

"If you get a 49 per cent vote share in a state, you can't really say it is anti-incumbency," he said.

It was the conversion of the votes into seats where the BJP wasn't as successful.

The BJP won 99 seats in Monday's election, 16 less than last time. The Congress went down fighting, winning 19 more seats than it had in 2012. But in terms of vote share, the BJP secured 49.1 per cent votes against the Congress 41.4 per cent.

"I think a hole in the number of seats was created in about three or four districts of rural Saurashtra on account of certain local reasons," he said.

"It is really in those districts that we drew a blank," he said. The party will analyse the reasons but Mr Jaitley said his own assessment was that this happened due to certain agrarian factors. "It could also be related to the fishermen issues," he added.

In the BJP's traditional stronghold of Saurashtra which has 56 assembly seats, the BJP could win only 23 of those seats today compared to 36 in the last election. It lost 13 seats in Saurashtra and three in the rest of the state. The Congress has gained 15 seats in Saurashtra and four in the rest of the state.


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