The neck-to-neck battle of the Gujarat elections had the nation in tension on whom will be the winner. And the BJP party wins it by an inch. Here are the details.
The BJP and Congress were locked in a nail-biting contest in at least 16 seats in Gujarat, where the victory margin was less than 2,000 votes and of just about 200 votes in a few.
In seats like Dholka and Fatepura, smaller parties like NCP and BSP ate into the crucial votes which some described as snatching of near-certain victories from the Congress. The independents also scored big in some seats.
The assembly seats to have seen a photo-finish included Himatnagar, Porbandar, Vijapur, Deodar, Dangs, Mansa, and Godhra. At many places, independent candidates, primarily rebels, cut votes of either of the two main parties.
In tribal-dominated Dangs, Congress managed a slender margin of 768 over the nearest rival BJP while in Kaprada, another ST seat, the Congress sneaked victory by a mere 170 votes.
However, there were at least eight seats, where Congress candidates trailed their nearest rivals by less than 2,000 votes, including in Godhra where BJP’s C K Raulji won by just 258 votes. The NOTA votes counted 3,050 in Godhra and one independent candidate got over 18,000 votes to finish third.
In the Dholka constituency, Congress lost by a margin of 327 votes. Significantly, in this seat, the BSP and NCP bagged 3139 and 1198 votes respectively.
Similarly, at the Fatepura seat, where BJP won by a margin of 2,711 votes over the Congress, the NCP candidate got 2747 votes.
Congress lost the Botad seat by a margin of 906 votes where BSP bagged 966 votes. Three independents collectively got around 7,500 votes here.
The BJP had its share of narrow misses as well. Apart from the Kaprada constituency, the party lost the Mansa seat by a vote of 524 votes and the Deodar seat by 972 votes.
In the end as the BJP just about managed to get a simple majority in Gujarat and maintained its winning streak in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one thing seemed clear that the twin strikes of demonetisation and roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) managed to reduce the saffron party’s dream of winning 150 seats to a meagre 99 seats. While the BJP seems to have won in urban areas, it is the rural areas where demonetization and GST have affected its prospects.
Sensing the anger prevailing among the Patidar dominated textile traders of Surat after the GST rollout, the last minute tinkering with the rates seemed to have helped the BJP sweep 15 out of the 16 seats in Surat assembly segment. However, considering the fact that the party was aiming to take its 2012 election tally of 117 to 150 seats, but fell well short by not even touching the 100 seat mark, clearly shows that in the rural areas the demon of demonetization seems to have hit it badly.
Saurashtra and Kutch’s regions helped the Congress gain in the state and take its tally to 77 from the 2012 total of 61 seats.
While the trading community overcame its anger against the BJP over GST rollout and voted overwhelmingly for it in major urban centers of Gujarat namely Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot.
However, it became amply clear that in rural and tribal belts of Kutch and Saurashtra, the Congress managed to drive in home the fact that demonetization was anti-poor and that it hurt their small savings.
The urban populace does not seem to have been affected by demonetization and experts pointed out that the pinch of the exercise was felt only for two months between November 2016 and January 2017. Once the 500 and 2,000 denomination notes came into circulation, the pain vanished, they said. Also, it is more than a year since demonetization happened, therefore the Congress could not take advantage of the issue in urban centers.
Yet with the rural populace still feeling the pain of the note ban exercise, it managed to mitigate BJP’s overall electoral gains in the state and whatever benefits it reaped in urban areas, were lost in rural belts. This ultimately reflected in its total tally of 99 seats.
Five ministers in the Gujarat government lost the assembly polls on Monday to Congress candidates even as the ruling BJP secured a simple majority to retain power in the western state.
Of these, Atmaram Parmar and Chimanbhai Sapariya are cabinet ministers.
Parmar, a prominent Dalit leader of the BJP, bit the dust against Congress’ Pravinbhai Maru in Gadhada (SC) seat in Botad district. Maru scored 69,457 votes against Parmar’s 60,033.
Sapariya went down fighting against Congress’ Chiragbhai Kalariya in Jamjodhpur constituency.
Kalariya’s tally stood at 64,212, while Sapariya ended up clinching 61,694 votes.
Shankar Chaudhary, Keshaji Chauhan, and Shabdsharan Tadvi are the three Ministers of State who failed to retain their respective seats.
Chaudhary lost to Congress’ Geniben Thakor. Chaudhary secured 95,673 votes against Thakor’s tally of 1,02,328 votes.
Chauhan failed to taste victory by a narrow margin of 972 votes from Deodar constituency. He was defeated by Shivabhai Bhuriya of the Congress. Bhuriya pocketed 80,432 votes against Chauhan’s 79,460.
Tadvi was uprooted by Congress’ Premsinh Vasava in Nandod (ST) seat. Vasava bagged 81,849 votes and Tadvi 75,520.
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