Gujarat election result: We’ll analyse the ‘tough fight’, says BJP leader
If the Gujarat election result trends hold up, then the contest in Gujarat is much closer than was predicted by most exit polls that foretold an easy win for the BJP, which has been ruling the state for 22 years.india Updated: Dec 18, 2017 12:45 IST
The BJP will form government in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, party leaders said on Monday, as trends showed the saffron party was on course to retain Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state and upstage the Congress in the hill state.
The counting of votes for the two states opened at 8am.
Three hours into it and home minister Rajnath Singh told mediapersons, “We will form government in both Himachal and Gujarat with clear majority.”
Minutes before Singh’s statement, the Prime Minister flashed a victory sign as he arrived in Parliament for the second day of the winter session.
The BJP had won one and was leading in 103 seats and the Congress was ahead in 72 segments, the Election Commission website showed at noon. “Others” were leading in the remaining six seats of the 182-member assembly, where the majority mark is 92.
If the trends hold up, then the contest in Gujarat is much closer than was predicted by most exit polls that foretold an easy win for the BJP, which has been ruling the state for 22 years.
The BJP leadership, too, took note of the close contest. “Trends so far show it was a tough fight, we will analyse it,” BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya said. “Sometimes we are not able to put across our message to the voter. It happens in elections. But it is still too early to say anything,” he said.
Gujarat voted in two phases, on December 9 and 14, in an election that saw the Congress take the fight to the BJP in its citadel.
Rahul Gandhi, who took over as the Congress president on December 16, led the charge in Gujarat, also the home state of BJP chief Amit Shah.
The trends suggest that while the Congress has improved its tally, the BJP managed to hold on to the state but with a reduced majority.
While the BJP leaders talked about forming the government, the Congress, too, claimed “moral victory” for its improved tally.
A victory in Gujarat would be crucial for the BJP, which will read the mandate as people’s support for the goods and services tax and demonetisation, severely criticised as disastrous for the economy by the Congress.
A win in Gujarat and Himachal will further embolden the Modi government to push for reforms.
In Himachal Pradesh, the ruling Congress was staring at a big defeat in keeping with the hill state’s trend of voting out the party in power.
The BJP was leading in 41 seats and the Congress had won one and was ahead in 21 segments, the EC website showed. “Others” were leading in five seats.
The majority mark in 68-member Himachal assembly is 35.
First Published: Dec 18, 2017 12:24 IST