Corruption has increased in Gujarat, yet BJP prevailed

As a crucial anti-incumbency issue, corruption did not garner the attention that the opposition desired

December 10, 2022 12:15 am | Updated 03:10 am IST

Picture placards of some of the Morbi tragedy victims seen at the western banks of the Machchhu river near the Morbi bridge collapse site in Morbi, Gujarat.

Picture placards of some of the Morbi tragedy victims seen at the western banks of the Machchhu river near the Morbi bridge collapse site in Morbi, Gujarat. | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

Corruption has been a significant concern in practically every Assembly election. The anti-corruption slogan used by AAP during the Gujarat Assembly elections made the topic relevant this time. It is clear that as a crucial anti-incumbency issue, it did not garner the attention that the opposition desired.

According to the Lokniti-CSDS survey, more than half the population (53%) said that the level of corruption has increased (Table 1). Further, among those who voted for Congress-NCP, nearly one-third (33%) opined that corruption has increased in Gujarat. Among those who voted for the BJP, 43% believed that corruption has increased.

In October, the collapse of the Morbi bridge, which claimed 141 lives and left several injured, became a significant political issue in the State. AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the bridge collapse was caused by “massive corruption.” With reference to this, 86% were aware of the bridge’s collapse (Table 2). Further, of those who voted for the BJP, 55% had heard about the bridge collapse and 32% of those who voted for the Congress-NCP had not heard about the bridge collapse.

The five-time sitting MLA from the BJP, Kantilal Amrutiya, managed to bag the seat in the Patidar-dominated constituency yet again despite the Morbi bridge disaster. Mr. Amrutiya was seen in viral videos wading into the water and trying to aid the rescue operations. This could be a reason for both his candidature and victory.

When it comes to the voters’ assessment, 32% opined that the body most responsible for the disaster was the local administrator. More than one-fourth (27%) of the voters were of the view that the State government should take responsibility for the incident (Table 3). One-fourth of the respondents believed that the disaster happened because of people’s negligence (23%).

Aaliyia Malik and Umar Mohidin are researchers at Lokniti-CSDS

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