Anti-Incumbency Or Tactical Crusade? What Helped Congress To Trump BJP In Himachal

The debate over whether this is a success for Congress's long-term planning or for the state's custom of ousting the incumbent continues.

Anti-Incumbency Or Tactical Crusade? What Helped Congress To Trump BJP In Himachal
Women voters have a huge impact in the polls as they have a 48% vote share in Himachal Pradesh. (ANI)

THE HILL State, maintaining its four-decade-old trend, dethroned the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the assembly elections on Thursday. According to the Election Commission of India, the Grand Old Party has secured forty seats against the BJP's victory on twenty-five seats.

However, the question remains intact: how did a party that deteriorated electorally in all the recent elections held in the country manage to win the Himachal Pradesh polls? Is this a victory for Congress's strategic planning or for the state's tradition of removing the incumbent?

Here's a list of factors that helped Congress win the state:

Anti-Incumbency

Himachal Pradesh was formed in the year 1970 by the Himachal Pradesh Act passed by the parliament, and it emerged as the eighteenth state of the Indian Union. In the past three decades, the hill state has always maintained the tradition of changing the government every five years. The BJP's electoral battle was about changing the "Riwaaj," with Jai-Ram Thakur vowing to end the decades-old trend with the party's slogan, "raaj nahi, riwaaz badlega." However, the mandate turned the other way, continuing the old tradition of the state. While the Congress was sure of winning the incumbency trend, the Saffron Brigade failed in ticket distribution, which led to the rise of 21 rebel leaders. While the party tried its best to still maintain an edge through constant rallies, the rise of independent candidates, who were once expecting to be fielded by the party,

Old Pension Scheme (OPS)

Among the many promises made by the Congress, the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) stood out as it targeted over 2.5 lakh government employees. However, the BJP also promised to implement the scheme, but the vote went in favour of Congress. Citizens' trust in the Congress surpassed that of the BJP as a result of examples provided by the parties of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, where the Congress-led governments began to implement the process.

The growing unemployment and Agniveer

The Congress communicated with people about local issues that they were facing. It tapped into the people's anger over the rising unemployment rate and the lack of government jobs. Because the hill state also sends a significant number of soldiers to the armed forces, people's resentment of the Agniveer scheme benefited the Congress. Priyanka Gandhi promised to end the recruitment scheme if the grand old party returns to power in 2024. It also promised one lakh jobs in the first year and to encourage self-employment.

Priyanka's connect with women voters

Priyanka Gandhi, the Congress general secretary, spoke at nearly ten rallies in the state, and her affinity for female voters aided the party's campaign. The women voters have a huge impact in the polls as they have a 48% vote share, and the welfare schemes by the Congress leader helped the party garner a significant number of votes. Priyanka did, however, launch a campaign in Uttar Pradesh, targeting women voters, which did not work but benefited the party in the hill state.

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