In Gujarat’s tribal belt, BJP leads on 24 of 27 seats

Dec 08, 2022 02:25 PM IST

The BJP is leading in all important assembly segments in Gujarat’s tribal belt that has been considered a stronghold of the Congress for years. In 2017, the Congress won 15 of the 27 seats reserved for scheduled tribes (ST)

SURAT: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is headed for a landslide victory in Gujarat, is leading in 24 out of the 27 assembly segments in the state’s tribal belt in Surat, Tapi and Bharuch districts, delivering a stunning blow to the Congress that has traditionally won these seats.

Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) supporters celebrate early leads for the party as vote counting of Gujarat state elections is underway in Gandhinagar. (AP)
Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) supporters celebrate early leads for the party as vote counting of Gujarat state elections is underway in Gandhinagar. (AP)

Among them is Vyara assembly seat in Tapi district which voted Congress’s Punaji Gamit for the fourth consecutive term in 2017. This time, he was pitted against the BJP’s Mohanbhai Konkani, 48, the first Christian to be fielded by the BJP in the state in 20 years.

In the Congress stronghold of Vyara assembly constituency, Congress’ sitting MLA Punaji Gamit, who is contesting for the fourth consecutive term is trailing against BJP’s Mohan Konkani, the BJP’s first Christian candidate in the state in 20 years. Konkani was leading against Gamit with more than 11,000 votes till the 10th round.

In the Nizar assembly constituency in Tapi district, the sitting Congress MLA Sunil Gamit is trailing behind BJP’s Jairam Gamit. If the trends hold, it will be a first for the BJP in this seat. In 2017, Congress candidate Sunil Gamit won the Nizar with a victory margin of 23,000 votes.

The BJP is also set to retain the Dangs assembly seat for the second consecutive term. The BJP’s sitting MLA Vijay Patel is leading with more than 10,000 votes against the Congress candidate.

The ruling party is also leading by a wide margin in Jhagadia, considered a stronghold of Chhotu Vasava, the seven-time MLA who founded the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) a month before the 2017 election when the BTP won two seats in alliance with the Congress. This time, Vasava is trailing behind BJP’s Ritesh Vasava. At the end of the 12th round of counting, Chhotubhai Vasava, a seven-term MLA from Jhagadia was trailing against BJP’s Ritesh Vasava by a margin of 14,000 votes.

The BTP’s Hitesh Vasava is also falling behind in the Dediapada assembly constituency in the Narmada district where Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Chaitar Vasava is leading with more than 28,000 votes.

If the BTP doesn’t catch up in the subsequent rounds, it will end the party’s dominance in south Gujarat as the leader of the region’s tribal community.

In Surat’s Mandvi seat - the district’s only seat that the Congress won in 2017 - the sitting Congress MLA Anand Chaudhri is trailing behind the BJP’s Kuvarji Halpati who started leading from the second round and has maintained his lead. At the end of the 14th round, Kuvarji Halpati secured 52,535 votes, a comfortable margin of 16,000 over the Congress candidate.

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