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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Corruption has increased in Gujarat, yet BJP prevailed

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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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