Gujarat Witnesses Lowest Voter Turnout In 2024 Lok Sabha Elections: Is BJP Facing Troubled Waters?

Gujarat Witnesses Lowest Voter Turnout In 2024 Lok Sabha Elections: Is BJP Facing Troubled Waters?

The state, renowned for its high political engagement, recorded its lowest voter turnout of 59.61% in recent years

Melvyn ThomasUpdated: Wednesday, May 08, 2024, 02:24 PM IST
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Gujarat Witnesses Lowest Voter Turnout In 2024 Lok Sabha Elections: Is BJP Facing Troubled Waters? | Representative Image

Surat: Gujarat, a significant electoral battleground, has seen a dramatic downturn in voter participation during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The state, renowned for its high political engagement, recorded its lowest voter turnout of 59.61% in recent years, according to data released by the Election Commission of India (ECI). This decline, marking a stark contrast to previous elections, has triggered intense speculation among political analysts regarding its underlying causes and potential ramifications, particularly for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Gujarat, long hailed as a bastion of political activism, has registered a notable setback in voter turnout during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Data furnished by the Election Commission of India (ECI) indicates that only 59.51% of eligible voters cast their ballots across the state's 25 Lok Sabha constituencies. This figure represents a significant decline from the 64.51% turnout recorded in 2019 and the 63.66% recorded in 2014--Out of a total of 4.79 crore voters, 2.85 crore people exercised their franchise, while 1.90 crore people did not vote at all.

Dip in voter participation explained

Political analysts attribute this unprecedented dip in voter participation to a confluence of factors. Among these, anti-incumbency sentiments, exacerbated by local grievances and disenchantment, loom large. The state's scorching heatwave likely deterred many from venturing out to polling stations, compounding the challenge of voter mobilization.

However, perhaps most significantly, simmering discontent within key caste groups has emerged as a focal point of analysis. The Kshatriya agitation, coupled with disillusionment among influential caste communities such as Leuva Patels, Kadva Patels, and Koli Patels, has cast a shadow over the electoral landscape. The BJP's decision to sideline senior leaders in various constituencies, particularly in North Gujarat, Central Gujarat, South Gujarat, and Saurashtra, has further fueled disaffection among voters.

BJP's performance in Saurashtra region

Karansinh Chavda, a prominent leader of the Kshatriya Coordination Committee, has forecasted electoral setbacks for the BJP, particularly in the Saurashtra region. He predicts that the party may suffer defeat in approximately seven Lok Sabha seats, attributing this prognosis to the Kshatriya controversy involving Union Minister Parshottam Rupala. Solid booth-level management orchestrated by Kshatriya leaders has bolstered the Congress's prospects in these constituencies, further complicating the BJP's electoral calculus.

Furthermore, analysts predict electoral turbulence for the BJP on at least 13 Lok Sabha seats across Gujarat. These include key battlegrounds in Saurashtra, Central Gujarat, North Gujarat, and South Gujarat, where opposition parties have gained ground. The recent debacle in the Surat Lok Sabha seat, secured by the BJP uncontested following the disqualification of opposition candidates, has elicited widespread disapproval among voters.

Shifting political dynamics

The voter turnout across various constituencies provides further insights into shifting political dynamics. While some seats witnessed a marginal decrease in participation compared to 2019, others experienced more pronounced declines. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other prominent leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, conducted rallies across the state, attempting to sway undecided voters. Despite their efforts, turnout figures suggest a waning enthusiasm among the electorate.

As Gujarat grapples with the aftermath of its lackluster electoral turnout, the implications for the BJP remain uncertain. The party's ability to navigate these troubled waters and secure a third consecutive victory on all 25 Lok Sabha seats hangs in the balance. With mounting challenges and a resurgent opposition, the political landscape of Gujarat stands at a critical juncture, poised for seismic shifts in the days ahead.

“The BJP's hegemony faces unprecedented scrutiny, with electoral discontent and shifting alliances reshaping the state's political landscape. Whether the ruling party can weather this storm and emerge triumphant once more remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Gujarat's electoral future hangs in the balance” said Naresh Vadia, political analyst.

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