Tabrez Alam, 16, a first-year civil engineering student, was in the big crowd that had gathered near his college in Surat on Thursday because vote counting was going on there.
And he was rooting for the BJP and chief minister Narendra Modi.
Being below 18, he could not vote
but both his parents did, and did so for the saffron party.
Except at the two counting centres, it was business as usual in the city. Shops opened on time and the place was buzzing as it always does during weekdays.
Narayan Murthy, a farm worker from Gulbarga in Karnataka, had travelled all the way to Surat to help Modi win. Being an outsider to Gujarat, he was not a voter but goes “wherever” he thinks his party has a chance of victory.
Raghunath Ahir, 65, came early morning from Bhojpur, Bihar. A keen supporter of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, he thinks it is his duty to help the Congress win.
“She (Congress president Sonia Gandhi) may have lost in Bihar and may lose here again but we will help her win bit by bit.”
Tejal Patel, passing by the engineering college, was not even aware that the crowds at the gate were waiting for the results, which were a foregone conclusion, she said.
In a Muslim ghetto on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, the mood was gloomy.
“I am disappointed, not as much with Modi being back as chief minister as with our candidate Murtuza Khan losing,’’ said Ghoolam Rasool, a resident of the area.
“One can’t go to a party that pretends we don’t exist.’’
However, Hyder Ali, who owns a mobile phone shop here, sounded conciliatory. “Goons have been kept at bay in the Modi regime and there have been no riots for 10 years. (But) we still don’t have any infrastructure.”
Munib Kadri, an engineer, said: “We are indifferent to Modi coming back. It was on expected lines. He will win for the next 20 years here as he is seen as the protector of the majority …’’
Tension gave way to celebration in Rajkot as the results trickled in.
“We had no doubt about our candidate, we had told him to go and help in the rest of Saurashtra,” said Rajubhai Dhruv, media manager for finance minister Vajubhai Vala, who won for a seventh time from Rajkot.
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