In rural Gujarat, Congress got more seats, BJP more votes
In Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi fought a tooth-and-nail battle with the duo of PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. But, he failed to wrest power from BJP, which clinched its sixth consecutive victory. That didn't stop Congress from claiming that they won a greater tally than BJP in rural-areas. However, its bubble has broken after EC data revealed that BJP actually garnered more votes.
What does EC data reveal about rural and semi-urban Gujarat?
An inquiry committee has been set up by the Pakistani government to investigate reports of Sikhs being forcibly converted to Islam in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) province. The development was conveyed by Pakistan's high commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India would take up the matter with the Pakistani government.
Why this difference in number of votes and seats?
Pakistan's Tribune newspaper reported on December 16 that the Sikh community in Hangu, K-P, had lodged a complaint with authorities claiming that Assistant Commissioner Tehsil Tall Yaqoob Khan was forcefully converting them to Islam. The Sikh community also staged a protest against the forced conversions. Around 10,000 Sikhs reside in K-P, a province known to be a hotbed for militancy and sectarian violence.
Meanwhile, BJP continues to rule urban Gujarat!
Despite reports of GST affecting BJP's standing among traders in urban areas, BJP won a whopping 48 urban seats against Congress's 10. In terms of number of votes, Congress got 40% less votes than BJP. BJP may have prevailed due to its urban Gujarat performance.
What does this imply?
This urban-rural dichotomy could be the biggest lesson from this election. Before elections in BIMARU states, like Rajasthan and MP, BJP might work towards resolving farmer distress. Conversely, Congress might strengthen its strategy of attracting urban voters. Further, a Congress lead in rural areas suggests that its main voter-base may not have deserted the party as yet. They just need to mobilize it.