BJP workers and supporters celebrating the party's success in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh
BJP workers and supporters celebrating the party's success in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh | PTI Photo by Arun Sharma
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It is a result that captures Gujarat’s temperament, but also reflects the possibility of shifts in that temperament. 

To hope that the Congress would form the government in Gujarat had appeared to many of us in the state as mere wishful thinking. However, to decree the Gujarat election result as the BJP’s continued and unequivocal victory is also an oversimplification.

When a student who is used to and expected to obtain distinction marks just about crosses the passing mark, it is not an unequivocal victory. It is rather, a moment of reckoning. The BJP may have a full-throated rhetoric of success and vindication in public, but it will have to reflect on how it lost out some crucial seats in Saurashtra, for instance. In places like Junagadh, Gir-Somnath and Morbi, the BJP has put up an abysmal performance.

The current atmosphere of jubilation on the basis of a macro-victory camouflages the dent it has received from independents and the Congress in what is considered to be its citadel. For those of us who believe that dissent has an important role to play in democracy, the triumph of Jignesh Mevani is also a tiny but symbolic sign.

Mevani was arguably the most ‘civil society’ candidate. Support from him came from sections cutting across caste and religion. He was funded by well-wishers and supported by believers in democratic processes. It is not a victory to ignore, but rather, to celebrate.

While the Hardik Patel-led Patidar agitation showed fewer results than predicted, it is not altogether absent in the split votes of the community.

All in all, the result in Gujarat can be processed as one that leaves all stakeholders somewhat happy. It also leaves us a less smug BJP and less despairing Congress than when the elections began.

It is a result that captures Gujarat’s temperament, but also reflects the possibility of shifts in that temperament.

Rita Kothari is a scholar based in Gujarat.

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