The week in 5 charts | Gujarat Assembly elections, India’s GDP growth rate revised to 6.9%, and more

Here are five charts that will help you understand some of the key stories from this week

December 11, 2022 01:54 pm | Updated 01:54 pm IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi alongwith Rajnath Singh, BJP President J P Nadda and Amit Shah being felicitated to celebrate their historic record win in the Gujarat assembly, at a function at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Thursday, 08, December 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi alongwith Rajnath Singh, BJP President J P Nadda and Amit Shah being felicitated to celebrate their historic record win in the Gujarat assembly, at a function at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Thursday, 08, December 2022. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

(1) Gujarat Assembly elections

Results for the Gujarat Assembly elections came out on Thursday. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stormed to power in Gujarat with a historic mandate, winning a record-breaking 156 out of 182 seats, a seventh consecutive victory for the party in the native state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP’s stupendous electoral performance stunned the opposition and even the party’s own members, sweeping cities and rural districts as triangular contests involving the BJP, the Congress, and new entrant, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), catapulted the ruling party to power with unprecedented numbers.

The victory comes when the incumbent government was facing issues like price rise, unemployment, and COVID-19 were on voters’ minds. The Morbi bridge collapse that killed at least 141 people was another blight. The BJP government also saw temporary and contract government staff protesting for revising pay grades. Then, there was the Maharashtra-Gujarat Par-Tapi-Narmada Riverlinking Project. The project did not sit well with the Adivasi community. However, the prime minister’s magic touch was at work again. Even in Morbi, the BJP won. Besides this, the BJP’s party restructuring helped 43% of sitting MLAs be removed from the candidate list, making way for new faces. Around 34 of the 37 turncoat MLAs who defected from the Congress to the BJP won. On the other hand, the Congress went from bagging 77 seats in 2017 to just 17 this year.

Also Read | How AAP helped BJP get its biggest landslide in Gujarat

The BJP, AAP, and Congress all gained from the Gujarat, Himachal, and Delhi MCD polls. However, the BJP remains the strongest. It has managed to retain its vote share in the places where it lost. Even the AAP’s strong entrance is only a cut into Congress votes for now. Congress’s Gujarat loss overshadows its Himachal victory.

Watch | Data Point | How BJP and AAP fared in Gujarat

(2) Congress grabs Himachal Pradesh

The Congress on Thursday wrested Himachal Pradesh from the BJP winning 40 seats in the 68-member Assembly in the hill state which maintained its tradition of not voting any incumbent government to power since 1985. According to the results declared by the Election Commission, the BJP won 25 seats, while eight state ministers, including Suresh Bhardwaj, Ram Lal Markanda, and Surveen Chaudhary lost. While the independents won from three constituencies and the Aam Aadmi Party, which had contested from 67 seats, failed to open its account. The BJP and the Congress contested on all 68 constituencies.

Watch | Himachal Pradesh Assembly Election Results 2022 | Key winners and losers

The Congress’ vote share was 43.9% and the BJP’s was 43% - a gap of less than 1%. The AAP, whose campaign had tapered after the initial phase, bagged 1.10% of votes. The CPI(M), which fought on eleven seats, also did not win any seats and its sitting MLA from Theog lost. It got 0.66% of the votes. The independents and others got 10.39% while 0.59% of votes went to NOTA.

Outgoing Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur defeated his nearest Congress rival, Chet Ram, by 38,183 votes from the former’s Seraj seat in Mandi district. It was the highest victory margin in the elections. The lowest margin of 60 votes was registered by Suresh Kumar of Congress from the Bhoranj seat. Of the 24 women who were in the fray, only BJP’s Reena Kashyap won from Pachhad reserved seat.

Also read |Congress in a fix in Himachal Pradesh as many leaders aspire for CM’s post

Himachal Pradesh was formed in the year 1970 by the Himachal Pradesh Act passed by the parliament, and it emerged as the 18th state of the Indian Union. Skimming through the past 5 assembly elections in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, there has been a toggle in the government’s majority between BJP and Congress. All the elections from 1998, 2003, 2007, 2012, and 2017 have witnessed the majority of different parties each time. For the Congress, a victory in Himachal Pradesh was needed for a revival as it has been battered by a spate of electoral losses in the last few years.

(3) World Bank revises 2022-23 GDP growth rate to 6.9%

On Monday, the World Bank revised its GDP growth estimate for India to 6.9% for 2022-23 from its October estimate at 6.5%. This comes after the strong upturn in the quarter from July to September at 6.3% despite inflationary pressure. The World Bank is not the only indicator showing growth signs. The S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index increased from 55.3 in October to 55.7 last month. While input costs remained high for the manufacturing sector, companies did not increase cost burden for consumers. They expected continued increase in sales. 

This comes after the government’s combination of measures to control inflation and boost capital expenditure. The RBI increased the repo rate to 6.25% by 35 basis points, down from earlier increases of 50 basis points. While this indicates an easing of inflation, it is still estimated to be well over RBI’s 6% tolerance mark.

While India has grown in a situation of global slowdown, spillover effects cannot be completely avoided. Private capital expenditure continues to be missing from the country. China is not there to act as a shock absorber for recession. The RBI expects GDP growth to slow down to 4.4% in Q3 and 4.2% in Q4 because of the negative impact on India’s exports and overall economic activity.     

(4) End of Asian hopes at the FIFA World Cup

Japan’s defeat to Croatia followed by Brazil’s solid 4-1 win over South Korea has ended Asian hopes at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Earlier, Australia (who are included in the Asian confederation) had lost to Argentina in the group of 16 knockouts. This means that all Asian Football Confederation (AFC) teams have now been eliminated from the 2022 World Cup. However, the Samurai Blue and the Taegeuk Warriors have much to be proud of, not least Japan’s shock upsets in winning matches against European heavyweights Germany (2-1) and Spain (2-1) in the group stage, and South Korea’s stunning 2-1 win over Portugal. Ultimately, both campaigns came to an end as the East Asian football giants were unable to progress to the quarter-finals.

Also read |FIFA World Cup: Beware the Asian march

Japan has been to the group-of-16 knockout round three times in six trips to the World Cup finals but has never gone any further. As co-hosts of the World Cup with Japan in 2002, South Korea reached the semi-finals under Dutch coach Guus Hiddink. That year the side went down in football history as the first team from outside Europe and the Americas to reach the last four. Six Asian sides competed at Qatar 2022, the most ever, and apart from the hosts Qatar, all of the sides won at least one match. Saudi Arabia recorded the biggest upset in World Cup history by defeating Argentina, while Iran stunned the Welsh with two match-winning goals in the death.

Now that Asian teams have crashed out of the tournament, all eyes are on Morocco – the first African team to get into the World Cup semifinals – after defeating European giant Portugal 1-0 in the quarterfinal. Morocco will now face France in the third semifinal at the Qatar World Cup.

Also read |Down the World Cup memory lane: When Asian, African, and North American nations challenged the giants of football

(5) Supreme Court reserves judgment in Jallikattu case

Jallikattu is both a religious and cultural event celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu and its influence extends beyond the confines of caste and creed, the State government has told the Supreme Court. The State said the ban on Jallikattu was perceived as an onslaught against the cultural identity of the people of Tamil Nadu.

The sport was banned between 2014 and 2016 until the State passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules of 2017. The statutes had re-opened the gates for the conduct of the popular bull-taming sport in the name of culture and tradition despite the 2014 ban by the Supreme Court. The case was referred to the Constitution Bench in February 2018. The primary question involved was whether Jallikattu should be granted constitutional protection as a collective cultural right under Article 29 (1). Article 29 (1) is a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution to protect the educational and cultural rights of citizens.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday reserved for judgment a batch of petitions seeking to strike down the Tamil Nadu law which protects Jallikattu by claiming that the bull-taming sport is a cultural heritage of the State and is protected under Article 29 (1) of the Constitution. The five-judge Bench led by Justice K.M. Joseph heard detailed arguments on the part of activists and the Tamil Nadu government.

The present phase of the legal battle over the bull-centred sport began in March 2006 with the filing of a petition with the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court seeking the courts intervention to get police permission for conducting a rekhla race in connection with a temple festival in Ramanathapuram district. Here is a timeline of the legal battle.

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