Election 2012 incomparable with 2002 and 2007

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What do you think? Will BJP get more seats this time in Gujarat, compared to past assembly elections of 2002 and 2007?What is your opinion, will the Congress perform better in terms of number of seats in Gujarat assembly elections 2012 compared to the past?

Such questions are often asked in the pre-poll season.

Forget the answer, I feel the question itself is incorrect / wrong. Due to new delimitation in effect, the 2012 election is incomparable with 2002 and 2007 polls.Gujarat assembly has a total of 182 seats. Of them as many as 40 seats now cease to exist. They have been replaced with new names and new geographies.

Then there are other seats, that retain the same names, but not the same geography. Some areas are cut, some are pasted. Lots of mergers, separations, cut, paste.

Moreover some seats are declared reserved seats while some areas are declared free from reservation.

In such a case, how does one compare 2002 and 2007 or any other past elections with 2012? The size of the chess board remains the same, but the squares are totally changed, and therefore the game is different this time, incomparable with past polls.

You need examples? There are 182 examples, but lets have a look at a few.

Ahmedabad’s Khadia is traditionally a BJP seat. One could not imagine that a Muslim can be the MLA of Khadia. But thanks to delimitation, Khadia is most probably going to have a Muslim MLA for the first time in its electoral history. That is because the Muslim dominated areas of Jamalpur constituency have been merged with Khadia in the final delimitation order. The seat, now Khadia-Jamalpur has a majority of Muslim voters. Now how can you compare Khadia 2002 and Khadia 2007 with Khadia 2012, when the electoral geography itself has changed?

Let’s take the example of Junagadh seat. Junagadh is a mixed bag of rural and city areas. In 2007, the rural section contributed 8521 votes to the BJP, which equaled a 45% voteshare for the party. Now after the final delimitation order, 12 villages of rural Junagadh have been merged with neighbouring Visavdar seat. These villages (Val Simdi, Keria, Bhiyal, Choki,

Sukhpur, Vadal, Bamangam, Kathrota, Dervan, Chokli, Ishapur, Baliavad) contain 4051 BJP votes as per the last election record. This change makes the Junagadh seat weaker and the Visavdar seat stronger for BJP.

You need more examples? OK a few more.

Let’s visit Bharuch. 44 villages of Bharuch taluka are added to Vagra seat. Vagra seat’s Amod town and taluka areas are added to Jambusar seat. Ankleshwar’s 17 villages are now part of Bharuch assembly seat.

And have a look at Amreli district. Here Babara seat merges into Lathi, but Babara seat’s Vadia merges with Amreli seat and Lathi seat’s Liliya merges with Savarkundla.

You want to study the full list of delimitation effect, constituency wise? You have a question, that if 2012 is not comparable with 2002 and 2007 then with what? Watch out for the next few articles discussing delimitation and its effect in this series.

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