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Flashback 2017: BJP sweeps Assembly polls, forms govt in 6 out of 7 states

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    The Gujarat Assembly election 2017 has been termed as a watershed moment for Indian politics. It has provided a major boost for PM Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and the party as a whole.

    BJP leaders celebrating Gujarat Assembly election win

    The BJP has wrapped up 2017 in a way that it would have expected. The BJP has formed the government in 6 out of the 7 states that went to polls this year.

    2017, was also a year in which saw a large part of the population turn up at polling booths and exercise their franchise.

    BJP's victory trend started in February after the party won Goa and Uttarakhand. A month after that in March, the BJP swept through Uttar Pradesh and Manipur. While in Gujarat, the incumbent BJP proved its might by retaining their seat of power, in most other states, they dislodged the ruling party, and with absolute majorities at that.

    The lone Congress win was in Punjab, with the ruling BJP-SAD combine out of the legislative assembly.

    Here is a look at the assembly elections in 2017

    Gujarat Assembly election, 2017

    Gujarat Assembly election, 2017

    The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the assembly elections in Gujarat-its sixth straight win in the state but not without a struggle.

    Its final tally of 99 seats was the lowest in more than two decades and the first time since 1998 that it slipped into double digits.

    No doubt, it was enough to ensure a simple majority and seal a fifth consecutive victory for the BJP, whose campaign was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Not only does this put the performance of the BJP in Modi's home state under scrutiny, it is bound to bolster the morale of the Congress party, now under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.

    Himachal Pradesh Assembly election, 2017

    Himachal Pradesh Assembly election, 2017

    The BJP has won 44 of Himachal Pradesh's 68 seats and the Congress has won 21. The BJP's chief ministerial candidate PK Dhumal, however, has lost his election. The BJP had deviated from its strategy in recent state elections by naming a presumptive chief minister.

    The BJP's conquest of Himachal Pradesh offers certain striking takeaways, both for the dethroned Congress and the triumphant BJP, beyond being a saffron surge in yet another state.

    The BJP's tally of 44 seats in the state assembly of 68 is its best-ever performance in the state. The party notched close to 50% of the vote share in a state that has a sizable Congress footprint, with its six-term chief minister Virbhadra Singh at the helm of affairs when defeat struck.

    Interestingly, the BJP's feat is the outcome of a poll strategy in which a conscious attempt was made in an assembly election not to project or rely on any state leader. Congress did just the opposite, and bit dust. Of course, it had limited choice, for Virbhadra Singh was both an asset and liability for the party.

    Punjab Assembly election, 2017

    Punjab Assembly election, 2017

    The Congress has made a resounding comeback in Punjab, winning a solid 77 seats in the 117-seat Assembly. Anti-incumbency may have helped the party notch up its big score.

    The election which had turned into a triangular contest at the beginning of campaigning with the entry of the Aam Aadmi Party in the state Assembly election saw the Congress emerging as the largest party receiving 38.5 percent vote share and winning nearly two-third seats.

    The state Assembly Election also saw a neck-and-neck fight in 12 seats with a vote margin of less than 2,000.

    There were a lot of political twists and turns right before the Punjab polls too. For example, there was a lot of outrage over Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's remark asking people to vote as if they were voting for Kejriwal. Sisodia's remarks created a political storm as politicians from other parties tried convincing people that this actually meant that Kejriwal was going to be the chief ministerial candidate of AAP for Punjab and that Kejriwal was going to relinquish his role as Delhi chief minister.

    One of the most shocking statements came from Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had left the BJP for the Congress a few months back. During a Congress press conference, the flamboyant Sidhu began the presser by claiming, "I'm a born Congressman. My identity, from birth, is that of a Congressman. I owe my existence to Congress."

    Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, 2017

    Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, 2017

    The BJP won two-thirds majority in Uttar Pradesh, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the charge as assembly election results revealed on Saturday.

    From 11 February to 8 March 2017, the election to the 17th Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly was held. It took place in 7 phases and saw voter turnout of 61.04% compared to 59.40% in 2012.

    Despite not projecting a chief ministerial candidate before the election, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won this election by an overwhelming three-quarter majority of 325 seats.

    The results reflect a huge comeback for the BJP, which has been out of power in India's largest state for 14 years. It is also a repeat of BJP's Lok Sabha sweep, when it won 71 of the 80 seats. After the result, on March 18, 2017, Yogi Adityanath became CM of the state.

    Uttarakhand Assembly election, 2017

    Uttarakhand Assembly election, 2017

    Uttarakhand too saw a saffron sweep with the BJP winning 57 of 70 seats.

    On 15 February 2017, the Uttarakhand Assembly election was held in a single phase. It was for the 69 seats. In 2012, none of the parties won a majority but Congress formed the government.

    The voter turnout was 65.64%. However, it is less than the last election's voter turnout of 67.62%.

    Trivendra Singh Rawat was chosen as the Chief Minister. Elected from the Doiwala constituency, Rawat is an erstwhile RSS pracharak who built a place for himself in national politics after he worked alongside Amit Shah in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

    Goa Assembly election, 2017

    Goa Assembly election, 2017

    On February 4, 2017, Goa Legislative Assembly election was held to elect the 40 members and VVPAT-fitted EVMs was used in the state. Despite winning 17 of 40 seats in Goa, the Congress failed to make a move to form the government in Goa. This led to Congress MLAs shifting their alliance to the BJP, which had won only 13 seats.

    With a majority in hand, the BJP went on to form the government in Goa, even winning a trust vote in the Assembly to consolidate their position. Manohar Parrikar is the Chief Minister

    Manipur Assembly election, 2017

    Manipur Assembly election, 2017

    In Manipur too, the BJP was quicker to act than the Congress, even with just 21 out of 60 seats in hand.

    On 4 March and 8 March 2017, a Legislative Assembly election was held in Manipur to elect the 60 members and Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines were used along with EVM in four assembly constituencies in Manipur. BJP managed to come to power by defeating Congress.

    Biren Singh, the Chief Minister, is a 56-year-old politician who has been a national-level footballer, served in the central paramilitary forces and also worked as an editor of a local newspaper.

    The year 2018 will also witness a set of tough battles. The states of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh. These elections would have a major bearing on the BJP's prospects ahead of the big 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
    While the party will attempt to retain power in these four, it will seek to wrest Karnataka, Meghalaya and Mizoram from Congress and Tripura from the CPI(M).

    After the victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, BJP may consider feat achievable. Tough days likely ahead for the Congress in the states.

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