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India suffered an average annual loss of around USD 87 billion in 2020 due to extreme weather events, such as tropical cyclones, floods and droughts as per the State of the Climate (SoC) in Asia 2020 report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The report, released last week, highlights the impact of extreme weather and climate change which, in the past year, has caused the loss of life of thousands of people, displaced millions and cost the country hundreds of dollars because of the impact it has had on infrastructure and ecosystems.

In 2020, countries across Asia faced the extremely difficult task of managing the devastating impact of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic while mitigating the disaster relief efforts due to such extreme weather events. This was particularly challenging for both India and Bangladesh, which suffered the onslaught of Cyclone Amphan in May 2020, wherein millions of people were displaced and billions of dollars in lost in property and infrastructure. Extreme weather events and climate change act as threat multipliers to poverty, and the SoC highlights the disproportionate impact such events have on already vulnerable populations and climate-sensitive industries, including agriculture, water resources, health and energy.


The State of the Climate (SoC) in Asia 2020 is a multi-agency report aimed at providing

science-based knowledge on the state of the climate in Asia and its inter-connection with sustainable development in the region. The report highlights how extreme weather and climate hazards, especially floods, storms, and droughts have a significant impact on many countries in Asia, particularly, India, China and Japan, and affect agriculture and food security. This, in turn, contributes to the increased vulnerability of migrants and those displaced by such extreme weather events. It also increases health risks and leads to a major loss in natural ecosystems. The report highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic further complicated disaster management efforts for countries as they faced the dual challenge of tackling the pandemic as well as climate change-related hazards with limited resources and time. Extreme weather events covered in the purview of the report include floods, storms, excessive rain, sandstorms, heatwaves and cyclones.

According to Germanwatch’s 2020 findings, India is the seventh-most vulnerable country with respect to climate extremes such as extreme floods and droughts.

The report mentions that in 2020, floods and storms affected around 50 million people, including around 5,000 lives lost. In absolute terms, India and China suffered the most from such extreme events: USD 26.3 billion and USD 23.1 billion, respectively. This impact translated into the percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), which in India exceeds 0.5% of GDP. Climate and weather events had a disproportionate impact on those displaced in the population. Most of the disaster-related displacement recorded globally in 2020 took place in China, Bangladesh and India, which recorded some of the highest figures globally of about 4-5 million new displacements each.

The report also speaks of the impact such events have on food security and nutrition, where improvements have already slowed down in Asia and are not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal targets of ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 (targets 2.1 and 2.2). It is estimated that in 2020, 48.8 million people in South-East Asia, 305.7 million in South Asia and 42.3 million in West Asia were undernourished. There was larger scale undernourishment recorded in countries affected by other drivers particularly climate-related disasters. Extreme climate events can wipe out thousands of hectares of produce and agricultural land, impact the supply chain of essential commodities, functioning of local markets, limit the availability of or access to firewood and safe water and directly impact the prices of food.

Additionally, climate change and related extreme events have direct negative environmental effects including causing damage to healthy ecosystems. These include pollutants and hazardous chemicals from flooded industrial sites entering groundwater, rivers and oceans; and wildfires, floods and storms defoliating forests and disrupting ecosystems.

Source: Creative Commons


The impact of Cyclone Amphan which hit the very densely populated coastal areas in Bangladesh and India during the rapid spread of COVID-19 in May 2020 is detailed in this report. In West Bengal, 86 people lost their lives and 13.6 million people were affected. The damage to infrastructure and property amounted to approximately USD 14 billion. Bangladesh reported total damage of more than USD 130 million. A total of 10 million people in 19 districts were affected, and more than 330,000 houses were damaged due to the cyclone. The cyclone hit the countries when the first wave of COVID-19 was surging across the world, and both governments faced the incredibly difficult task of mitigating disaster relief efforts owing to major restrictions imposed during the pandemic and the disruption of supply chains

The cyclone displaced around 2.4 million people in India, mostly in West Bengal and Odisha, and 2.5 million people in Bangladesh. Around 2.8 million homes have been damaged, leading to widespread homelessness and prolonged displacement. As many did not have access to evacuation centres they were compelled to take shelter in tents or in the open on embankments. The damage associated with Cyclone Amphan affected all forms of infrastructure and agriculture. This includes social infrastructure such as housing, schools and hospitals; physical infrastructure including access to energy, transport, water and sanitation; and communication networks and agriculture, including damage of crops and livestock.


The specific damage and losses caused by extreme weather events vary from event to event due to the characteristics of the affected region. However, all such events have large impacts on major sectors of the economy and have a major implication on socioeconomic indicators, such as transportation cost, employment, food security and trade. The SoC mentions that in the past few years, the economic costs of extreme events have been rising due to the high proportion of critical infrastructures being located in multi-hazard risk hotspots. This leads to a major disruption in economic activity when natural disasters occur. Climate change often acts as a threat multiplier to poverty, through cascading effects and compounding risks that need to be addressed in disaster risk reduction efforts.

Cyclone Amphan displaced around 2.4 million people in India, mostly in West Bengal and Odisha, and 2.5 million people in Bangladesh. Around 2.8 million homes were been damaged due to the cyclone leading to widespread homelessness and prolonged displacement.
The specific damage and losses caused by extreme weather events vary from event to event due to the characteristics of the affected region. All such events have large impacts on major sectors of the economy and have a major implication on socioeconomic indicators.

India is exposed to increasingly frequent floods, droughts and cyclones and as per the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 12% of India’s total land area is exposed to flooding and 68% of cultivable land is exposed to drought. 80% of the total coastline is exposed to cyclones and tsunamis. The country is also witnessing associated events corresponding to that of the heatwaves, cold waves, extreme rainfall, landslides and avalanches as a new normal due to changes in the microclimate and surface temperature. With only about 9% of the world’s arable land, agriculture in India feeds about 17.2% of the global population and over 56% of the country’s total agricultural area is rainfed. This means that India’s food security and agricultural livelihoods depend heavily on the monsoon, making it extremely vulnerable to climate change. The impact of such events is even higher in some states which have a history of frequent extreme weather disasters. This includes states such as Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh which are prone to severe droughts as well as the states of Bihar and Assam, which are faced with floods almost every year. Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal experience regular cyclones. On average it is estimated that USD 2.3 billion was paid for crop losses by insurance companies. Additionally, increased heat and humidity can lead to an effective loss of outdoor working hours, putting between USD 2.8 trillion and USD 4.7 trillion of GDP in Asia annually at risk by 2050, on average. In 2020, a larger number of Indian cities reported temperatures of 48°C or more.


As per the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 12 per cent and 68 per cent of India’s total land area is exposed to floods and drought, respectively.

According to Germanwatch’s 2020 findings, India is the seventh-most vulnerable country with respect to climate extremes. The SoC calls for the need to build climate-resilient economies and societies which have become more necessary than ever to “build back better” from the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be done by enhanced monitoring of climate drivers at regional scales and increased funding for climate observing and early warning systems, and associated services. It also involves an improved understanding of risks of climate change, as well as investment in frontier technologies, health and social protection of those most vulnerable to extreme weather events.

The improvement of all adaptation measures, including the implementation of early warning systems (EWS) has been highlighted as the key component to reducing Asia’s exposure and vulnerability to extreme weather events. Additionally, there are still major gaps in the availability of climate observations in the region, particularly in South and Southwest Asia. There is an increasing need to promote climate change-related outcomes in climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water resources, health and energy. This has been highlighted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as the top priority for decision-makers and policymakers around the globe.

Source: Creative Commons

Contributing reports by Damini Mehta, Junior Research Associate at Polstrat and Abhilasha Rawat and Devak Singh, Interns at Polstrat.

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Statistically Speaking




Parties offering freebies targeting various sections of society in the run-up to the 2022 Assembly elections was the trend this time. In Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party, which emerged as the second-largest party in the elections, announced a freebie package worth Rs 25,500 crores, involving 300 units of free electricity to households, free power for irrigation, and allowances for women. Similarly, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which won in Punjab, promised constituents a wide array of freebies as a part of its “Delhi Model”, from loan waivers, free electricity, and several direct benefits such as unemployment allowance for the youth. The estimated value of the AAP’s freebies is likely to be around Rs 20,600 crores per annum. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in an attempt to emulate the promises being made by other parties, promised an unemployment allowance, farm loan waiver, and free electricity along with allowances for students. The Indian National Congress (INC), which failed to win in any state, had also made similar promises, including pension for elderly women and free gas cylinders for households.

While the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has popularised freebies, making it a core element of their election promises across states as part of its “Delhi Model”, parties have been using freebies to lure in voter groups for years. In the hypercompetitive political landscape of India, the last few elections have been a testament to the fact that parties are continuing to use freebies as a bargaining chip with voters. However, the impact of the provision of freebies and their overall benefit has been long up for debate, with many industry experts stating that in the long run, the cost of providing such freebies increases due to the hidden externalities associated with their provision. Speaking at an event last week, N.K. Singh, the Chairperson of the Fifteenth Finance Commission flagged the rising culture of “competitive freebie politics” in India as an issue to contend with. He added that freebies affect the macroeconomic stability of governments and distort the expenditure priorities of governments. Let’s dive into the impact the provision of freebies has had on the fiscal health of some states and evaluate the costs, both actual and hidden, of providing them.

Free electricity to farmers was also promised by the BJP in the 2022 UP elections keeping in mind the rising anti-farmer image the party seemed to have inculcated.
Source: Wikimedia Commons


The AAP came back to power in 2020 with a generous welfare and subsidy policy with benefits ranging from free bus rides for women, free electricity up to 200 units, free water up to 20,000 litres a month, fee-waivers and free tutoring for students from lower-income families, and free primary healthcare, amongst a host of other provisions. The party also made similar promises in 2016 and despite concerns pertaining to the viability of these schemes, the 2013-18 CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report concluded the Delhi State Government did not have any debt sustainability issues despite running such schemes. Although it should be mentioned that when the AAP came to power, it had a revenue surplus of around 4.2 per cent, and while this has declined gradually, it has stayed steady at around 0.6 per cent to 0.9 per cent. Overall, there has been a decline in both the capital and development expenditure undertaken by the state, which has automatically increased the cash funds at the disposal of the government. The Union Territory of Delhi has the highest funds available in the country for development spending and could have spent Rs 20,142 crores in the financial year 2019-20 while remaining within the fiscal deficit limits according to the state finances report by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Even the 2019 CAG Report showcases that the Delhi government has consistently managed to have a revenue surplus, prompting the AAP to use this as evidence that its policies are fiscally prudent and do not impact the financial health of the state. However, critics of the policy state that such policies are only fiscally prudent in the short term and have a much larger impact in the long term, making them unsustainable.

Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann pitching free electricity plan in Punjab.
Source: The Hans India

The state’s revenue surplus has been falling every year, along with a fall in its own tax revenues (OTRs). While the state continues to operate with a surplus budget, experts point out this is largely due to the huge surpluses created by previous governments in the state. In addition to this, it has been pointed out that while expenditure on both education and healthcare (considered the two most important sectors in the “Delhi Model” of development of the AAP) has increased, overall investment in new infrastructure has actually reduced. Financial experts suggest this could indicate these popular welfare policies have come at the cost of asset creation and infrastructure development, which directly impacts the long-run financial health of the state as well as its overall production capacity.


The AAP in Punjab inherited a state government with a debt of around Rs 2.82 lakh crores from the previous INC led state government. When the INC government came into power in 2017, it inherited a debt of around Rs 1.82 lakh crores from the 10-year rule of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) led government.

In the run-up to this election, the AAP had promised free electricity up to 300 units to the people of Punjab, and Rs 1,000 per month for every woman, aged 18 years and above in the state. These policies are likely to put substantial pressure on an already debt-ridden state economy. Given that the promise of the AAP would cover each household in the state (for the provision of free electricity), even at the most conservative estimates, it is likely to increase the subsidy bill by at least Rs 5,000 crores. Additionally, financial assistance of Rs 1,000 per month for every woman aged 18 years and above in the state, is expected to put an additional financial burden of Rs 15,600 crore on the State Exchequer, according to experts. AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also announced that the party will not levy any additional taxes in the state, which would also mean there is no avenue for the state to increase its tax revenue streams. The huge estimated costs of these welfare policies raise the question of their viability, especially for a debt-ridden state like Punjab. It should also be noted that newly elected Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, in his first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March, sought a financial package of around Rs 50,000 crore to improve the financial condition of the state.

Punjab State Government has been in debt since a long time, at present accounting to Rs 3 lakh crores with GSNP of 2021-22 standing at approx.
Source: Al Jazeera English
To appease women, in the 2022 state elections AAP promised a Rs 1000 monthly allowance to all women above 18 years of age.
Source: Al Jazeera English


The Chairperson of the Fifteenth Finance Commission, N.K. Singh, speaking at an event earlier this month highlighted the dangerous nature of freebies and the impact this could have on the financial health of any state.

“The economics of freebies is invariably wrong. The economics and politics of freebies are deeply flawed. It is a race to the bottom and it is not the road to efficiency or prosperity, but a quick passport to fiscal disaster,” he said. Other financial and policy experts also believe that short-term welfare measures take weight away from growth-enhancing measures like strengthening the public distribution system, employment schemes, and healthcare infrastructure.

Tamil Nadu’s public debt has exceeded Rs 2,00,000 crores in 2015-16. West Bengal has doubled its outstanding state liability in excess of Rs 3,00,000 crores over the last five years.

Source: Al Jazeera English
In Tamil Nadu elections, parties have gone as far as to promise mixers and grinders, TV sets, laptops for students to appease voters.
Source: Al Jazeera English

They believe competitive freebie politics undermines the macroeconomic stability of states. AAP’s promise of freebies in Punjab is likely to cost around Rs 17,000 crores, which would cost an additional 3 per cent of the GDP of the state.

Even the Supreme Court, responding to a public interest litigation (PIL), said political parties competing with each other to announce freebies and doles during electioneering has the potential to upset states’ finances and vitiate free and fair polls.

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“You have given 30 years to Congress and 17 years to BJP to rule the state, all they did was loot Himachal. Just give me five years. If you are not satisfied, you can change us,” proclaimed New Delhi Chief Minister and National Convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Arvind Kejriwal, during the party’s first-ever roadshow in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh on 6 April 2022. On the same day, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur launched the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s “Chalein Booth Ki Ore – Barhein Jeet Ki Ore” campaign in Mandi, on the occasion of the party’s foundation day.

Congress stalwart and Ex-CM Virbhadra Singh’s (right) demise in 2021 has left a power vacuum in the Indian National Congress. After the party’s victory in 2021 bypolls, several of its leaders are vying to be projected as the CM candidate in the upcoming elections. Virbhadra’s son (left) and wife have also launched their political careers
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Setting aside murmurs of factionalism in the party between supporters of Jai Ram Thakur (left) and ex-CM Dhumal, BJP has confirmed it’ll fight the 2022 elections with Thakur as the CM candidate.Horticulture is a key source of income for farmers from Himachal Pradesh. Demands for an MSP for apples have been raised after the volatility of prices fetched for the produce.

The Assembly elections in 68 constituencies of Himachal Pradesh are scheduled to be held in November 2022. While the hill state sends only four members to the Parliament, the BJP and Indian National Congress (INC), both of which have formed alternative governments in the state, are giving utmost importance to the state polls, especially with the AAP joining the fight this time. In the last three decades, no ruling party in Himachal has managed to return to power a second time. The contest has so far been a bipolar one, between the INC and BJP. However, given the national ambitions of the AAP, and its recent victory in Punjab, the party is charged to fight elections in the hill state, pedalling its “corruption-free model”.


Political fortunes in Himachal Pradesh have always been uncertain. So far, the competition has been majorly two-sided with the INC and BJP wrestling for victory. In 2012, the INC under the leadership of Virbhadra Singh defeated the BJP, winning by a slim majority of 36 seats in the assembly with a vote share of 42.81 per cent. Meanwhile, the BJP secured 26 seats and a vote share of 38.47 per cent. The 2012 elections were marked by a series of internal issues for both parties with party members deserting their positions for other parties. However, the BJP definitely suffered more damage, and tensions between senior leaders Dhumal and Shanta Kumar were reflected in the party’s performance in the Kangra district, where the BJP only won three out of 15 seats.

Subsequently, in 2017, the BJP successfully wrestled back control from the INC, securing a vote share of 48.79 per cent along with 44 seats. The INC managed to win 21 seats with a vote share of 41.68 per cent.

The BJP took advantage of the anti-incumbency in the state and attacked incumbent Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh for enabling a “Mafia Raj” in the state. The party attacked the deteriorating law and order situation as well, driven by a rise in the number of murder and sexual assault cases in the state. The anti-incumbency was further fueled by the lack of industry, poor growth in tourism due to infrastructural deficits, and connectivity issues. The INC also faced a lack of support and backing from senior leaders after the loss, as described by incumbent Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. However, in October 2021, during the by-polls held in Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly segments, the INC managed to win all three seats, giving the BJP a jolt as these seats were considered the BJP’s strongholds. The party managed to win the Lok Sabha constituency Mandi during the bypolls. Unlike the state polls, the BJP had previously consistently won Parliamentary elections in the state from 2009. It repeated its performance in 2019, winning all four seats, and also managed to increase its vote share from 53.85 per cent to 69.71 per cent in 2019.


The BJP’s losses in the bypolls held last year have been a testament to the fact that there is rising discontent amongst the electorate against the ruling government. Some of the major issues that were brought up during the by-polls included rising fuel prices and unemployment, which will continue to dictate the narrative for the 2022 Assembly polls. The unemployment rate in the state was 12.1 per cent for March 2022 according to the CMIE. This is significantly higher than the Indian average of 7.6 per cent. The unemployment rate has remained elevated above 10 per cent for most months since November 2017. In addition to this, there is rising discontent amongst apple growers in the state as wholesale prices have taken a hit. Agriculture is a major contributor to the economy of Himachal Pradesh – around 90 per cent of the state’s population resides in rural areas, out of which 56.5 per cent are associated with agricultural activities and are dependent on agriculture for survival.

Another major issue likely to come up is the Hatti community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The community, which has around three lakh members, could influence the outcome in nine constituencies in the state and is largely concentrated in the Trans-Giri area of the Sirmaur district. Although the community used to be politically fragmented, members began to lean towards the BJP almost 15 years ago when the party promised that it would grant them ST status. This promise remains to be fulfilled, despite the BJP repeating it in its manifestos, including in the 2017 Assembly elections. Other electoral issues will include the demand for the old pension scheme by government employees as well as internal factionalism and infighting in parties. There have been reports of BJP members being dissatisfied with the leadership of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. These have been fueled by allegations of corruption and bureaucracy during his tenure, including against his top officials, such as Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh.


With around six months to go, parties have launched their campaigns at full speed in the state. The BJP, as a part of “Mission Repeat 2022”, kickstarted its campaign with a Maha Jan Sampark (mega public outreach) drive and a Padyatra in all assembly seats. With an eye on Assembly elections, Jai Ram Thakur announced that his government decided to provide free power for up to 125 units from 1 July. The party also said water bills in rural areas will be waived, which would result in families getting a benefit of ₹30 crores. Other announcements by the party also include a 50 per cent discount on travelling in Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses for women, a ₹5 crore allocation to expedite work on Holiuttarala road as well as legislation that will guarantee 120 days of wage employment to households in urban areas. The Chief Minister also tabled the state budget in the assembly earlier this month with a focus on agriculture, women, and the youth.

More women exercised their franchise than men in Himachal Pradesh which recorded its highest turnout in Assembly polls of 2017 at 74.61 percent, according to official figures.Himachal Pradesh recorded its highest ever voter turnout in Assembly elections: 74.61 percent as compared to 73.51% in the 2012 assembly elections. The turnout broke the previous record set in 2003: 74.51 percent. Men accounted for 50.74 percent of the voters, women made up 49.26 percent.Muslim Population in Himachal Pradesh is 1.50 Lakhs (2.18 percent) of total 68.65 Lakhs according to the 2011 census. Chamba district has one of the highest concentrations of muslims accounting for 6.25% of the district’s total population.

The AAP, which has not fought elections in the state before, kicked off its campaign with a massive roadshow led by Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, boasting the attendance by thousands. The party appointed an eight-member team to devise its poll strategy in the state, and the election in-charge in the state is Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain, while Durgesh Pathak has been appointed state in-charge with Ratnesh Gupta as his deputy. The AAP will contest the election on the issues of corruption and providing better infrastructure for schools and hospitals as per the party spokesperson. As part of its strategy, the party is considering contesting the civic body elections scheduled to be held in Shimla next month. According to analysts, the AAP could be viewed as a viable alternative to the bipolar system of power-sharing that has dominated the politics of the state given, especially, that the party has been making inroads in the state by attracting voters from economically weaker sections with its welfarist policies.

The INC has not officially launched its campaign in the state yet, due to infighting. However, it has formulated a committee to tackle the Shimla Municipal Elections likely to be scheduled next month. The state president Kuldeep Singh Rathore mentioned that the party will raise issues of unemployment and inflation in its election campaign. The INC’s infighting has aggravated even more after the passing of six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, which left a power vacuum in the party in Himachal Pradesh. Second-generation leaders in the party have been vying for the top spot since his demise, leading to factionalism. Given the speed and fervour of campaigns by both the BJP and the AAP, the INC stands to lose the momentum it gained during the 2021 by-polls if it doesn’t start campaigning soon,

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Statistically Speaking




24 hours after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retained power in four out of the five states it contested in the first round of assembly elections in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set out on another election campaign trail, kicking off preparations for the upcoming Gujarat elections.

Gujarat is the home state of the Prime Minister and is set to go to poll in December this year.

Shortly after the launch of the BJP’s campaign in the state, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), riding high on its success in Punjab, also announced its campaign in the state, on the occasion of the Hindu festival Chaitra Navaratri in Ahemdabad. The Indian National Congress (INC), still reeling from its poor performance in all five state elections, announced its “Azadi Gaurav Yatra” four days after Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement, attempting to emphasise the role played by the Congress party in India’s freedom struggle and its contribution to nation-building after independence.

Let us have a look at the campaigns, promises and electoral history of the state, to see what could happen in the polls in December this year.


Gujarat has been dominated by the BJP since 1995, except for a period of 18 months during which former Chief Minister, Shankersinh Vaghela split away from the BJP to form the Rashtriya Janata Party. Vaghela served as the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 1996 to 1997 and was succeeded by Dilip Parikh, who served as Chief Minister till 1998. Since the 1998 state elections, only BJP Chief Ministers have served in Gujarat. In the 2012 Assembly elections, the BJP won 115 out of the 182 seats with a vote share of 47.85 per cent, while the Congress only managed to secure 61 seats with a vote share of 38.93 per cent. The Gujarat Parivartan Party and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won two seats each, while the Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) and an independent candidate won one seat each. While the BJP continued to dominate electoral politics in the state, its seat share fell in the last Assembly elections held in 2017. The party had set a target to win 150 seats in the state but won 99 seats with a vote share of 49.05 per cent. The elections witnessed a tough fight between the INC and the BJP, with the INC winning 77 seats with a vote share of 41.44 per cent. However, due to defections from Congress and by-poll wins, the BJP’s tally increased to 112 while Congress slipped to 65. One of the key issues of the election was the Patidar reservation. Since 2015, there have been large scale demonstrations, protests and riots by Patidars in Gujarat, as they were seeking Other Backward Class (OBC) status. One of the key highlights of the elections was the rise in popularity of Hardik Patel, who currently serves as the Working President of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, as an important political force in the state. Patel led the Patidar reservation agitation starting in July 2015 and became the face of the agitation. After the win, Home Minister Amit Shah said the victory of the BJP in the state was a victory of “developmental politics” over “caste-based politics”. The 2017 elections also marked the first time the option of choosing None of the Above, NOTA, was made available to voters. A whopping 1.8 per cent of voters chose NOTA, making its share higher than that of parties such as NCP, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and others.

At present, there are a total of 4.47 crore voters in the state. Out of which, women account for 2.14 crore votes.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
In the 2017 elections, BJP emerged as a clear winner, winning 99 seats, while Congress came second with 77 seats. At the time, there was a fierce competition between the two major parties of the country.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The BJP also swept the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, winning all 26 seats. BJP President Amit Shah led the charge, securing his parliamentary election debut from the Gandhinagar seat. However, in September 2021, approximately a year before the scheduled Assembly elections, Vijay Rupani, the BJP Chief Minister from Gujarat, tendered his resignation. “I believe that the journey of Gujarat’s development should go ahead under a new leadership, with new excitement and new energy. Keeping this in mind, I have resigned as Chief Minister Of Gujarat,” he wrote in a letter, not giving any specific reason for his resignation. Bhupendra Patel was unanimously elected as the BJP legislative party leader and Chief Minister-elect of Gujarat a few days after that. A new cabinet was sworn in on 16 September, 2021.

A series of local body elections were also held in the state in March 2021. The BJP swept the urban local bodies of Gujarat winning all six municipal corporations in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar, and Bhavnagar. This was one of its largest victories in civic bodies in the state as it won more than 80 per cent of the seats in all the municipal corporations. One of the biggest surprises of the local body elections was the performance of the AAP. The AAP was contesting local body elections in the state for the first time and managed to secure 27 out of 120 seats, becoming the principal opposition party in the Surat Municipal elections, while the Congress failed to win even a single seat. Similarly, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) won seven seats in Ahmedabad in Jamalpur and Maktampura wards, both Congress bastions for years.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi effectively kickstarted the BJP’s campaign in Gujarat in March 2022 with a massive roadshow. It was held in Ahmedabad and attended by thousands of young people, as well as village and district and panchayat representatives.

Following this, the Gujarat government has announced that it will be expediting a slew of infrastructure projects, including the second phase of the Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad metro, a greenfield international airport at Rajkot, a diamond bourse in Surat and more.

Gujarat has been a BJP bastion since 1995, with the party winning all the elections till 2017 assembly elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The party has also launched a six-month-long campaign to reach out to voters, especially those from economically backward backgrounds, and take up the responsibility of nourishing children found to be under-nourished, under a scheme called Suposhan Abhiyan.

Overall, BJP aims to continue highlighting its achievements and development brought about in the state, as part of its campaigning.

The party will promote the impact of the Ayushmaan Bharat Yojna, PM Awas Yojna, and the Covid-19 vaccination drive in order to highlight its achievements in the state.

Prime Minister Modi is also scheduled to address public rallies in north Gujarat and visit the tribal-dominated district of Dahod, followed by a visit by Amit Shah.

The INC, which has been trying to combat its diminishing footprint in national and state-level politics, is also attempting to campaign in the state.

The party won 77 seats in the 2017 assembly elections in the state and failed to secure a presence in the local body elections held last year.

On 6 April, the party launched its Azadi Gaurav Yatra to showcase the role played by the Congress party in India’s freedom struggle and its contribution to nation-building after independence from Gandhi Ashram in Gujarat. The party has announced its “Dwarka Declaration”, which is its blueprint to win 125 seats in the 2022 polls.

As a part of this blueprint, the INC will promise to resolve 12 major issues of public welfare with a focus on farmers, eliminating inflation, and tackling unemployment.

The Congress promised to waive farmers’ debts and halve electricity bills in rural or urban areas. Other promises include a promise to build “Mahatma Gandhi Model Schools’’ and increase health facilities in the state, including the promise to recruit more health workers.


The AAP launched its election campaign led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Navaratri, an auspicious day for Hindus, stating it was a key message to the people of Gujarat and the party cadre of AAP that the new year will bring peace and prosperity to all.

Fresh from the victory in Punjab, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann held a large roadshow in Ahmedabad on 2nd April. He was on a two-day visit to Gujarat, where elections are scheduled later this year.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
With nearly a third of the total electorate of 3.78 crore voters being youths, aged 18-29 years, the ruling BJP and the main Opposition Congress are leaving no stone unturned to woo these youngsters.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The AAP launched its roadshow from the Khodiyar Mata temple in Nikol, which is a not-so-affluent neighbourhood in Ahmedabad’s old city area, where most residents are working-class Patidars and migrant labourers. Nikol was also one of the epicentres of violence during the 2015 Patidar agitation for reservation led by now Congress leader Hardik Patel.

The AAP has so far been successful in attracting a section of the Patidar community, who have been disenchanted with the ruling party. This was visible in the party’s victory in the 2021 Surat civic polls.

The AAP has also been reaching out to youth in various parts of urban Gujarat, raising the issues of employment, education, and various scams, aiming to carve its position in the anti-BJP space with the Congress failing to dislodge the BJP from power for 25 years now.

The party has appointed Dr Sandeep Pathak, who is credited to have played a large role in AAP’s Punjab performance, as its Gujarat election in charge, while Gulab Singh Yadav will be the campaign in charge.

While expanding its organisational base in the state, the AAP subsequently inducted a slew of prominent faces from different fields, including popular TV anchor Isudan Gadhvi, youth leader Yuvrajsinh Jadeja, farmer activist Sagar Rabari, and Patidar youth leader Nikhil Savani into its fold.

The party is also likely to look into allying with regional parties for the elections. On 27 March, Kejriwal met Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) leader and Dediapada MLA Mahesh Vasava. The party, which has two MLAs at present, is likely to ally with the AAP for the assembly elections later this year.

While the Congress is dealing with a shrinking footprint and has been incapable of taking power away from the BJP in the state in the past few decades, the AAP’s performance in the civic body elections and overall preparations and campaign strategy shows its ambitions to come out as the principal opposition party to the BJP in the upcoming elections.

Contributing reports by Damini Mehta, Senior Research Associate at Polstrat and Abhinav Nain, Akhil Chirravuri, Uday Wadhwa Interns at Polstrat.

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Statistically Speaking




The economic crisis in Sri Lanka has debilitated the country, leaving it unable to pay for essential imports, including fuel, and has prompted widespread shortage of essential items across the island nation. Public outrage culminated in a series of mass protests across the country last week, leading to violence and clashes with the police. As a response, the government announced a curfew along with a ban on social media websites, including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter in an attempt to curb protests. However, citizens defied the curfew and took to the streets, demanding the resignation of the Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whom they hold responsible for the crisis. Following the series of mass protests, all Cabinet Ministers submitted their resignations, except for the President’s brother and the Prime Minister, leaving the political future of the country uncertain. Sri Lankans have been dealing with the massive fallout of the economic crisis for several weeks, including standing in lines for hours to gain access to basic goods and power cuts for up to 13 hours. The protests against the government, including against the President are a huge change in popularity for Rajapaksa, who was elected into power in 2019 with a huge majority. Experts state the crisis is a result of decades of economic mismanagement by various governments in the country, and is not a problem that will be resolved easily.

Tea accounted for 11.3% (US$1.27B) of Sri Lanka’s exports in 2020. The industry was hit hard by a loss in growth of exports since 2013 and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Source: Flikr | Nuwara Eliya


Economic and policy experts agree that the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka is a result of mismanagement of the country’s finances by successive governments, along with ill-timed tax cuts compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic. The root of the problem lies in the twin deficit the country is currently experiencing: which is a budget deficit alongside a current account deficit. This spells disaster for the fiscal and monetary health of any country. The roots of the economic crisis in the country can be traced back to factors such as an economy reliant on the export of primary commodities such as tea, rubber, and garments, while essential consumption items such as food and fuel are imported into the country. The country mobilises foreign exchange reserves through a combination of primary community exports and tourism.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Left) with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (Right) during a High-level Government meeting in Sri Lanka held in November, 2020.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
In Sri Lanka, transport services are grounding to a halt amid rising prices and unavailability of petrol and diesel.
Source: Flikr | Marcel Crozet / ILO

As global primary commodity prices have continued to fall since 2013, the country’s avenues to earn higher export revenue have also dwindled. Due to this, the country approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance in 2016 for a second time. The IMF imposed various conditions, including the reduction of the country’s fiscal deficit to 3.5 per cent, flexibility in exchange rates, and commercialisation of public sector enterprises to sanction the loan. However, the country was unable to stabilise its economy and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country shrunk from 5 per cent in 2015 to 2.25 per cent in 2019. Other measures of the economic health of the country also continued to dwindle, as the rate of investment fell from 31.2 per cent in 2015 to 26.8 per cent in 2019, while the savings rate for the same period fell from 28.8 per cent to 24.6 per cent. Government revenue, which was already shrinking, was further impacted in 2019 after the government implemented several ill-timed tax cuts that led to even lower tax revenue.

While exports and government revenue was declining, the tourism sector, which constitutes a huge part of the economy also began to decline in 2019, following the Easter terrorist attacks in the country that year. This was followed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The fiscal deficit exceeded 10 per cent in 2020 and 2021, and the ratio of public debt to GDP rose from 94 per cent in 2019 to 120 per cent in 2021. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic left thousands of Sri Lankan labourers in West Asian countries stranded – they had to return jobless after the first wave of the pandemic. Garment factories and tea estates in Sri Lanka could not function, as infections raged in clusters, and thousands of citizens lost their jobs in cities as establishments abruptly shut down or offloaded personnel.

Another major reason behind the current crisis is the country’s decision to switch to organic farming. The country used to spend around US$ 260 million (about 0.3 per cent of its GDP) on fertiliser subsidies, most of which were imported. However, in May 2021, it was declared that the country would switch completely to organic farming and it banned the import of fertilisers. The ill-timed policy, which was implemented in an attempt to preserve foreign exchange reserves, had a brutal impact on the production of agricultural products, making it necessary to import more food items.

The compounded impact of this meant that all the key foreign exchange earning sectors of the economy, including exports, remittances, and tourism were hit the most, leading to a huge deficit of foreign exchange reserves. These reserves were needed for the country to be able to pay for essential goods such as food and fuel, which the country imports.


Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 31st March, 2022 requesting to provide humanitarian aid to Sri Lankan refugees arriving in the state in view of the ongoing economic crisis in the neighbouring island nation. Source: Twitter

The Sri Lankan rupee, which authorities floated last month, has fallen to nearly 295 against the US$, while it stood at around 180 in 2019. Consumer Price inflation is at 16.8 per cent and foreign reserves stand at US$ 2.31 billion at the end of February, falling 70 per cent over the last two years. The country faces a rough journey ahead, seeing as it has to repay its foreign debt which is totalling nearly US$ 4 billion this year and is expected to rise further as it continues to import essentials from its account. In a recent address to the country, President Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka will incur an import bill of US$ 22 billion this year, resulting in a trade deficit of US$ 10 billion.

So what is the Sri Lankan government doing in an attempt to mitigate its way out of this crisis? As any fiscal help is out of reach, the Central Bank of the country has put in place some monetary measures in an attempt to raise foreign exchange reserves. Experts are calling these measures “band-aids”. These include tightening trade restrictions, devaluing currency to encourage remittances and make exports more competitive, and hiking interest rates in an attempt to combat persistent inflation.

The country continues to seek assistance from other countries and international finance organisations. Sri Lanka already owes China around US$ 3 billion due to heavy borrowing during the Mahinda Rajapaksa presidency for infrastructure projects and has approached the country again for a US$ 2.5 billion line of credit. The country is hopeful for a bailout from the IMF. Additionally, they are looking to India for more loan support. Till 18 March 2022, India had extended support amounting to US$ 2.4 billion to Sri Lanka, through a US$ 400 million RBI currency swap, deferral of a US$ 0.5 billion loan and another US$ 1.5 billion as a line of credit for the country to sustain its essential fuel imports. Indian traders have also started loading 40,000 tonnes of rice for prompt shipment to Sri Lanka in the first major food aid. On 28 March 2022, Sri Lanka had sought an additional line of credit of US$ 1.5 billion from India to import essential items.

A major concern that many countries and international financial bodies have with regard to extending additional financial support to the country is that the support extended may be ineffective due to the rampant corruption in the Sri Lankan government. President Rajapaksa had promised citizens stability and a “strong hand” with which he would rule the country. However, since his election, the economic crisis in the country has worsened and experts blame the rampant corruption in both government and the business sector as having facilitated this. Even after the end of the civil war in 2009, which had huge economic repercussions for the country, corruption and authoritarianism penetrated every aspect of government in the country under the rule of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa from 2005 to 2015 and his brother—President Gotabaya Rajapaksa—elected in 2019.

The Rajapaksa family has dominated the politics of the nation for decades and the current shortages and dire economic conditions have prompted protests directly against them, as people seem to be protesting against the larger ineffectiveness of governance and ill-timed reforms, while demanding the resignation of the leaders responsible for the crisis.

Contributing reports by Damini Mehta, Senior Research Associate at Polstrat and Abhinav Nain, Akhil Chirravuri, Interns at Polstrat.

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In the recently concluded 2022 Assembly elections, amidst the high pitched battle for Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, elections were held in three other states as well. These were Uttarakhand, formerly part of Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, marred by ethnic conflicts, and Goa, the doorway to southern politics. A wave of pro-incumbency was evident in all three states as the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the polls.

In Uttarakhand, for the first time since the state came into existence in 2000, an incumbent party was voted back to power. Goa, which went to polls in one phase on 14 February 2022, saw the BJP emerge as the single largest party winning 20 seats, just shy of the majority mark by one seat. Manipur also voted the BJP back to power and the party will form the government for another five-year term, in sharp contrast to the Indian National Congress’ (INC) domination of state politics for 15 years prior to 2017. We decode the key trends and noteworthy aspects in the elections of the three states as the BJP swears in its incumbent Chief Ministers across the board.


On 23 March 2022, Pushkar Singh Dhami was sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand for a second term. Despite high anti-incumbency in the state with several opinion polls predicting a hung assembly, the ruling BJP surprised everyone by securing a comfortable two-third majority winning 47 out of 70 Assembly constituencies with a vote share of 44.3 per cent. However, in a setback for the incumbent Chief Minister, Dhami lost the election from his Khatima constituency, a seat he won in both 2012 and 2017. The BJP also witnessed a drop in both its seat share and vote share. In 2017, it won 56 seats and secured a vote share of 46.51 per cent.

The elections defied the anti-incumbency nature of the state’s electorate which has elected alternative BJP and Congress governments every five years until this year. This time, the INC came in the second position securing 19 seats with a vote share of 37.9 per cent. The party, which has been in a decline in every other state, increased both its seat tally and popular votes in Uttarakhand. It recorded a jump of eight seats and 4.42 per cent points in vote share from the previous general election.


The BJP managed to rein in intra-party fissures and disputes which reaped huge electoral benefits for it. Changing the course of bipolar politics, it is increasingly emerging as the only dominant force in the state. Over the past three elections, it has surpassed the Congress in the seat tally and by the 2019 Lok Sabha election, it raised its vote share to 56.4 per cent. The 2022 elections have further shrunk the political fabric for the emergence of a third front, in a state which, so far, has given no space to parties other than the BJP and INC. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had to be content with two seats and a reduced vote share as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a new entrant, drew a blank in its maiden election in the state. Both the BSP and the AAP are nowhere close to increasing their tally in the state as the BSP was runner-up in just two seats, while the AAP did not come in second in any constituency.

The polarisation of state politics has contributed to wider victory margins and raised the average winning threshold making it more difficult for small candidates to win, also shrinking partisan representation in the state assembly. In a rare phenomenon, apart from CM Dhami, the other two CM hopefuls from INC and the AAP, Harish Rawat and Ajay Kothiyal respectively, also lost from their corresponding constituencies of Lalkuan and Gangotri.


The BJP, under the leadership of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, secured a victory of 32 seats in the recently concluded elections to get a slim majority in the 60-member Manipur Legislative Assembly.

The party, which led a coalition government from 2017 to 2022, as it was way below the halfway mark, had contested all 60 seats without any pre-poll alliance. It secured a 37.8 per cent vote share as it increased both its seat share and the popular vote by 11 and 1.55 per cent points, respectively. On the other end of the political spectrum, Congress-led Manipur Progressive Secular Alliance (MPSA), a coalition of six political parties won just five seats, all by INC. In terms of seat share in the assembly, this was the INC’s worst-ever performance in the North-east state. The party’s vote share more than halved, falling from 35.11 per cent in 2017 to 16.83 per cent in 2022.

The first five-year term of the BJP (2017-2022) in Manipur was in sharp contrast to the Congress’ 15 year-rule under the leadership of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. The BJP government’s term witnessed considerable calm and peace in the state compared to Ibobi’s tenure which was marred by bandhs, blockades, and a sharp rise in extra-judicial killings.

This is said to be a leading factor in the BJP’s ability to clinch a second consecutive term in a state known for dominance of the Congress.


The other parties in the fray included Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)), Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA), Naga People’s Front (NPF), and the National People’s Party (NPEP), all of whom participated in the elections independently. This is despite the JD(U) being an NDA ally in Bihar and NPF and NPEP being a part of the Government of Manipur in the previous Legislative Assembly (2017-2022). The JD(U) made a comeback in the state after 20 years, winning six seats, five more than it had last won in 2000. The KPA, NPF, and NPEP secured two, five, and seven seats respectively. All four parties have pledged their support to BJP in the formation of the Government. The NPEP emerged as the second-largest party in the Manipur Assembly with a vote share of 17.29 per cent. Two of the three independents elected to the assembly have also pledged support for the BJP. The BJP-led government now has the support of 22 more MLAs (Member of Legislative Assembly) in addition to its 32 legislators, taking the strength of the treasury bench to 54 and reducing the opposition down to just six members in the 60-seat legislative assembly.

While factors such as a significant reduction in the violent protests, stone pelting, tear-gassing, and curfews under the previous BJP government contributed to the party’s return to power, states in the north-east are known to favour the party in power at the union as they are mostly dependent on the Union government for monetary support. Prior to 2017, the Congress benefited from this trend in Manipur, holding power in the state for 15 consecutive years. The rise of the BJP at the national level coincides with its dominance in Manipur as state politics appears to lean towards it. Moreover, similar to the Congress’ fate in the other states, it witnessed a wave of defections in Manipur since it lost power in 2017. Between 2017 and 2022, its tally reduced from 28 to 13 MLAs.

Politics in Manipur is centred around its various tribes as they comprise 41 per cent of the state’s population: 53 per cent Meitei ethnic groups, 24 per cent Nagas, and 16 per cent Kuki Zomi. In the hilly regions of the state, primarily composed of Christian Nagas and Kukis and which hold 20 seats, the BJP managed to improve its tally from five in 2017 to seven this time. 19 of these 20 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes (STs). The INC, despite its considerable hold in the region, was completely wiped out losing all nine seats it had won in 2017. NPF, which is limited to the Naga-dominated seats, increased its tally by one to finish with five seats here. The valley regions of Manipur which is dominated by Meitei Manipuris, a majority of whom are Vaishnavite Hindus, comprise 39 general seats and one Scheduled Caste (SC) reserved seat. The BJP alone secured 25 seats here, the NPEP and INC both secured five seats each while JD(U) won four seats in the region.


n a bid to iron out the long standing differences between the Meitei-dominated Hills and the Tribal valley, the BJP launched a number of initiatives like Go To Hills and Hill Leaders Day. While the impact of these initiatives on the ground remains questionable, the BJP’s attempts to alleviate the differences which were exacerbated during the previous Congress rule have clearly helped bridge the social gap between the hill and the valley population. It also appears to have reaped electoral benefits for the BJP in the recently concluded elections.

In 2017, the INC emerged as the single largest party in the Goa Assembly even as the BJP wrestled power from under its nose. Over the course of the next five years, the INC was reduced to a faint shadow of its former self. In a wave of defections, it lost a majority of its MLAs to the BJP, coming down to just two MLAs by 2022 – former CM Digambar Kamat and Pratapsingh Rane. In the 2022 elections, the incumbent BJP emerged as the largest party in the elections winning 20 seats, an increase of six but shy of the majority mark by one. It clocked a vote share of 33.31 per cent. The INC finished second in the polls with 11 seats and a vote share of 23.46 per cent. The party’s decline was set in stone, unable to replicate its performance from 2017 in line with the BJP’s rise in the state. While in 2017, the BJP was already ahead of the INC in terms of vote share, this time, it has further increased its popular vote from 32.48 per cent to 33.31 per cent. The INC’s vote share declined from 28.35 per cent in 2017 to 23.46 per cent in 2022.

The AAP, attempting to expand its national footprint through Punjab and Goa, entered the assembly for the first time securing two seats with a vote share of 6.77 per cent. The Mamata Bannerjee-led All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) which started with a bang in the state, failed to win a single seat despite its 5.21 per cent vote share. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak (MAG), which went into the elections as a TMC ally, secured just two seats with a vote share of 7.6 per cent. Post-poll, MAG has extended its ‘unconditional support’ to the BJP, along with three independents. The BJP will be leading a coalition government for a second consecutive term with Pramod Sawant returning as the Chief Minister. Revolutionary Goans Party and Goa Forward Party secured one seat each.


In a bid to iron out the long standing differences between the Meitei-dominated Hills and the Tribal valley, the BJP launched a number of initiatives like Go To Hills and Hill Leaders Day. While the impact of these initiatives on the ground remains questionable, the BJP’s attempts to alleviate the differences which were exacerbated during the previous Congress rule have clearly helped bridge the social gap between the hill and the valley population. It also appears to have reaped electoral benefits for the BJP in the recently concluded elections.

In 2017, the INC emerged as the single largest party in the Goa Assembly even as the BJP wrestled power from under its nose. Over the course of the next five years, the INC was reduced to a faint shadow of its former self. In a wave of defections, it lost a majority of its MLAs to the BJP, coming down to just two MLAs by 2022 – former CM Digambar Kamat and Pratapsingh Rane. In the 2022 elections, the incumbent BJP emerged as the largest party in the elections winning 20 seats, an increase of six but shy of the majority mark by one. It clocked a vote share of 33.31 per cent. The INC finished second in the polls with 11 seats and a vote share of 23.46 per cent. The party’s decline was set in stone, unable to replicate its performance from 2017 in line with the BJP’s rise in the state. While in 2017, the BJP was already ahead of the INC in terms of vote share, this time, it has further increased its popular vote from 32.48 per cent to 33.31 per cent. The INC’s vote share declined from 28.35 per cent in 2017 to 23.46 per cent in 2022.

The AAP, attempting to expand its national footprint through Punjab and Goa, entered the assembly for the first time securing two seats with a vote share of 6.77 per cent. The Mamata Bannerjee-led All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) which started with a bang in the state, failed to win a single seat despite its 5.21 per cent vote share. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak (MAG), which went into the elections as a TMC ally, secured just two seats with a vote share of 7.6 per cent. Post-poll, MAG has extended its ‘unconditional support’ to the BJP, along with three independents. The BJP will be leading a coalition government for a second consecutive term with Pramod Sawant returning as the Chief Minister. Revolutionary Goans Party and Goa Forward Party secured one seat each.

In an election which saw the emergence of multiple fronts in the small state, the BJP’s strike rate stood at 50 per cent, winning 20 of the 40 contested seats. The INC clocked a strike rate of 30 per cent, while its ally GFP, which has a much smaller presence than the INC, was higher at 33 per cent winning just one of three contested seats. AAP, which had contested on 39 of the 40 seats in the assembly, faced a harsh defeat and had a strike rate of five per cent with its two seats. Notably, more than 50 per cent or 22 of the state’s 40 constituencies were won by a margin of less than ten per cent. Reflecting sentiments of anti-incumbency in parts of the state, the BJP won 12 of these 22 seats, while the INC won three. The INC was a runner-up in seven of these 22 seats, BJP in six seats and MAG in three. Overall, the BJP finished as a runner-up on 14 seats and the INC in nine.

The state elections were riddled with strong anti-incumbency sentiment primarily due to the BJP’s poor performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, rising unemployment, mining closure for over a decade, and mismanaged pandemic-hit tourism all of which strained state finances.

While new entrants such as the TMC and the AAP’s rise offered alternatives to the electorate, the BJP adopted a seat-by-seat winnability-above-all approach, and was able to strengthen its hold in the state as it dropped several of its loyal and organisational cadre, including key ministers. In North Goa which holds 23 seats, the BJP won 13 seats compared to the INC’s six. South Goa, which sends 17 MLAs to the assembly, saw much closer competition as the BJP won seven seats while INC secured five. The INC’s pre-poll ally GFP also won one seat from the region, while AAP and independents secured two seats each.

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The 2022 Assembly elections in the states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh were both historic. For the first time in UP, an incumbent Chief Minister was re-elected after serving a full five-year term. In Punjab, where the Indian National Congress (INC) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), who have formed alternative governments in the state since 1966, were wiped out and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won its first state outside of the national capital. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which won UP in a landslide victory in 2017, won 255 out of the 403 Assembly seats in the state, with a vote share of 41.29 per cent. The leading opposition party in the state, the Samajwadi Party (SP) managed to secure 111 seats with a vote share of 32.06 per cent. In Punjab on the other hand, the AAP secured a sweeping victory, winning 92 of the 117 Assembly seats, with a vote share of 42.01 per cent. The incumbent INC was only able to secure 18 seats in the state, while the SAD managed to win three seats in the Assembly. The 2022 Assembly elections have been keenly watched by political analysts and pundits, as they are considered to be the trailer for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Let us break down the wins of parties in both the states and find out the biggest upsets, vote bank demographics, strike rates, and overall performance.

With grand victory in Punjab elections, AAP walks steps forward to becoming a national party.


The BJP was able to retain its hold in the most populous state in the country, although its seat share declined from 312 in 2017 to 255 in 2022. However, the party’s vote share increased from 39.67 per cent in the previous elections to 41.29 per cent in this election. The SP, which had performed abysmally in the 2017 elections, managed to improve its performance in 2022, securing 111 seats with a vote share of 32.06 per cent as compared to 47 seats and a vote share of 21.82 per cent that it secured in 2017. Prior to the election, many analysts had noted the muted campaigning from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The party’s footprint declined exponentially in the state, and it only managed to secure one seat in the 403 member Assembly. The party’s vote share in the state also declined by 9.35 per cent to 12.88 per cent in 2022—its worst performance since 1991. Despite Priyanka Gandhi’s active campaigning in the state, the INC was also reduced to a bystander in the state, getting two seats in the Assembly and a vote share of a mere 2.33 per cent.


Overall, out of the 403 seats, 131 seats were closely contested, with victory margins of less than five per cent. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 74 of these 131 seats while the SP+alliance won 55 of these seats. Overall, the average victory margin for the BJP was 13 per cent while the same for SP was eight per cent%. When talking about strike rates, we observe that the BJP’s decision to ally with the Apna Dal (Sonelal) and Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (NISHAD) as its partners paid off. The party contested 93 per cent of the 403 constituencies, managing to win 255 of the 376 seats it contested, bringing its strike rate to 67.8 per cent. BJP’s alliance partner, AD(S) won 12 out of the 17 seats it contested (71 per cent strike rate), while the NISHAD party won six out of the ten seats it contested (60 per cent strike rate). The NDA’s seat-sharing formula with its allies, targeting specific regions, clearly paid off and worked in their favour.

The SP contested 86 per cent of the 403 seats in the Assembly and won 111 of the 347 seats it contested. The party’s strike rate was significantly lower than the BJP at 32 per cent. SP’s largest ally, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which enjoys wide-scale support of the farming and Jat community only won eight seats, securing a strike rate of 24 per cent. Similarly, other alliance partners such as the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), which had allied with the NDA until 2020, only managed to win six seats with a strike rate of 32 per cent. The SP had joined hands with regional parties such as the RLD, SBSP etc in an attempt to extend its support base from its traditional Muslim-Yadav (MY) vote bank, and while its allies gained seats as compared to 2017, their performance was significantly lower as compared to the BJP’s allies. Both the INC and BSP had a strike rate of less than one per cent in the state.


Comparing the seat-wise performance of the BJP and SP, we observed that 71 of the 326 seats the NDA had managed to win in 2017 were secured by the SP+ in 2022. Similarly, the INC also managed to flip one seat. Out of the 48 seats won by the SP and RLD combined in 2017, 11 switched to the NDA in these elections. The BSP, which won 19 seats in 2017, only retained one in 2022, and the SP won 13 of those seats, while the BJP won five. When trying to analyse the shift in the BSP’s traditional Dalit vote bank, one has to look at the performance of the parties on reserved seats. In total, 84 seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and two for Scheduled Tribes (STs). In 2017 and 2022, the NDA won both seats reserved for STs in the state. Out of the seats reserved for SCs, the NDA won 74 out of the 84 seats in 2017; however, in 2022, it only managed to win 63 of those reserved seats. Similarly, the SP alliance won 20 of those reserved seats in 2022, as compared to the seven it won in 2017. The average winning margin for the BJP in SC seats was 28,667 as compared to the SP which had a winning margin of 13,967. According to political analysts, this difference clearly indicates that the Dalit votes that shifted from BSP, when to the BJP in higher volume as compared to the SP.

The regional performance of the BJP in the state shows that despite the narrative of the farmers’ sentiment against the BJP, due to the farmers’ protests, the BJP managed to secure its performance in both Western UP and Doab. The party secured 30 seats in Western UP, which was eight lower than it secured in 2017, while it managed to secure 55 seats in Doab. The SP+ alliance was able to improve its performance in the region, winning 15 seats in Western UP (an increase of 11) and 16 in Doab (an increase of eight). The SP was also able to stage a comeback in Bundelkhand, which has 20 seats. In 2017, the BJP had won all 20 seats in the region, however, this time around, it only secured 14 seats, while the ADAL (S) won seats and the SP won three. In Purvanchal, the NDA lost 19 seats as compared to 2017, while in Central UP (Awadh) the NDA lost seven seats.

The AAP, which had not yet been able to win any state outside of the national capital, managed to secure a sweeping victory in Punjab. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party won 92 out of the 117 seats in the Assembly, managing to secure 42.01 per cent of the votes. The party’s victory was the largest ever by any party in the state since its reorganisation in 1966. The INC, which had nestled the state out of the hands of the BJP-SAD alliance in 2017 after a ten-year rule, was only able to secure 18 seats with 22.98 per cent of the votes. Similarly, the SAD which was once a principal opposition party managed to win only three seats, while the BSP won one seat and the BJP won two. The last remaining seat was won by an independent candidate. The results clearly showed that Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, a political outfit floated by various farmer bodies, failed to make any mark. Similarly, the Punjab Lok Congress formed by former Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh also failed to make a mark, and the former Chief Minister also lost his seat to an AAP candidate from Patiala.

While the AAP had managed to secure 20 seats in the 2017 Assembly polls, emerging as the second-largest party in the Assembly, its performance was driven by the Delhi model of governance, high anti-incumbency in the state, and overall infighting and factionalism in the Congress was stellar across almost all regions in the state. One of the biggest regions in the state, the Malwa region, which covers 69 Assembly seats, was swept away by the party, as it won 66 out of the 69 sets. In 2017, the INC had won 40 seats in this region. Analysts believe the AAP’s promise to bring about change in the state resonated with voters in the region.

Similarly, the Doaba region, which encompasses the districts of Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, and Kapurthala, has 23 seats in the Punjab Assembly. The AAP had only managed to win two seats from this region in 2017. However, this year, the party was able to increase its tally to ten. The Majha region, which includes districts such as Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, and Pathankot districts, comprises 25 Assembly seats. The AAP could not win any seats in this region in 2017; however, in 2022, they won around two third of the seats in the region, winning seats such as Amritsar East, where analysts and pundits had completely written off the party.

Some of the biggest upsets for the INC and other parties include the loss of incumbent Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. Channi lost from both seats he contested in the Assembly polls, including Chamkaur Sahib, which he represented in the Assembly since 2007.

INC’s Punjab president Navjot Singh Sidhu also faced embarrassment as he lost to AAP’s Jeevan Jyot Kaur by 6750 votes. Jagroop Singh Gill of Aam Aadmi Party won the seat by defeating Manpreet Singh Badal, a part of the Badal family and the current finance minister from the INC with a margin of 63581 votes.

Former CM Captain Amarinder Singh lost from his bastion of Patiala Urban- a seat which he has won 4 times in the past. AAP’s Ajit Pal Singh Kohli defeated him by a margin of 19,873 votes. Overall, of the 85 new MLAs out of 117 in the assembly, 82 are from AAP. The state assembly will also, for the first time in decades, witness the absence of some seasoned politicians who called the shots for long.

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