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Sujata Anandan, Hindustan Times
Surat, December 21, 2012
Gujarat almost maintained its status quo — but not so the tribal areas. The upset came in South Gujarat, considered the Congress home turf, where the BJP did well.

The tribal vote was practically split down the middle, handing the Congress some defeats where it might have expected to win.

Of the 15 tribal seats in south Gujarat, the Congress had eight, the BJP seven. But this time, the Congress tally has gone down to seven and BJP upped its to eight.

The high profile campaign of Tejas Chowdhury — son of Amar Sinh Chaudhury, the only tribal chief minister of Gujarat — in Mangrol fell by the wayside.

Nitin Rana did no better in Bardoli, where delimitation appears to have played a decisive role in favour of the BJP. The redrawn map had included four BJP-dominated segments in this constituency reserved for scheduled tribes.

The Congress, however, managed to retain its tribal seat from Vansda in Navsari, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had campaigned.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s campaign had also carved out a win for the party in Mandvi, where Prabhudas Vasava beat first-time BJP contestant Hemlata Vasava.

But BJP’s Mohanlal Goria posted a victory from Mahuva (not to be confused with the Mahuva of the anti-Nirma movement), indicating that the absolute Congress domination of reserved tribal seats could have come to an end.