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Gujarat victory is win of politics of performance, says Amit Shah

In a series of tweets, BJP president Amit Shah attributed the party’s victory in Gujarat to PM Narendra Modi’s popularity and the public welfare works carried by the Centre and the state government.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2017 18:52 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Election result,Gujarat election result,Gujarat election tally
BJP president Amit Shah flashes victory sign on his arrival at the party office in New Delhi, after winning assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.(PTI Photo)

BJP chief Amit Shah described Monday’s election verdict in Gujarat as the victory of the “politics of performance” and credited pro-poor policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his popularity for the rise in his party’s vote share and blamed the opposition’s negative campaign for the dip in its tally.

“I never have witnessed an election campaign where the opposition has stooped so low in attacking a Prime Minister,” Shah told reporters in New Delhi.

Shah rejected claims that there was a close fight between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress in Gujarat and said the gap of 8% between the vote share of the two parties was big.

Map | Gujarat assembly election live results 2017

Its vote share in Gujarat this time, at 49.1%, has slumped sharply since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when it clocked nearly 60%, but when compared to the 2012 assembly polls — 48% — it shows a marginal rise.

The Congress’ vote share has improved significantly — to 41.4% — up from the 33% in 2014 and higher than around 39% in the 2012 polls.

“It is big that we have managed to increase our vote share despite Congress stooping to a low during the campaign and resorting to caste politics,” Shah told reporters. “All senior leaders of the Congress got defeated. It happens when you outsource election,” he added.

The BJP appeared set to win the assembly elections in Prime Minister Modi’s home state, trends showed, but with a reduced margin. The results have been declared in 164 constituencies so far, with the BJP winning 87 of them.

The saffron party had declared Mission 150-plus, which aimed at winning more than 150 out of 182 assembly seats of Gujarat, ahead of the elections.

Shah denied that quota stir leader Hardik Patel or the agrarian distress hurt the BJP in Saurashtra, and pointed out that his party did well in some of the Patidar strongholds such as Mehsana.

Gujarat witnessed violent agitations by the politically and economically dominant Patidars for reservation in government jobs and education over the past two years.

They constitute about 12% of the state’s population and despite being traditional BJP loyalists, a section of Patidars led by Hardik seemed to have shiftedits loyalties to the Congress in this election.

Saurashtra is a predominantly rural belt comprising 11 districts and a third of the state’s area. Gujarat has been in the grip of a farm crisis for much of the last five years, as droughts in 2014 and 2015 shrivelled crops in many districts, including in the drought-prone Saurashtra.

“We did not factor in the level of discourse that Congress will resort to while setting that mission. We need to take a lesson and see how we can counter such a low-level campaign,” Shah said.

The BJP chief pointed out that his party and its allies rule 19 states as of today, as compared to just five states before coming to power at the Centre in 2014. “We have increased our footprints since then and will do so in the coming assembly elections in Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Karnataka early next year,” he said.

Shah said the party has already declared a nominee for the post of the chief minister when asked who will lead the government in Gujarat and that the parliamentary board will meet on Monday to take a call on Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Vijay Rupani was named as the chief ministerial candidate during the campaign for the elections in the western state.

The ruling party is set to return to power as the results of the Himachal Pradesh elections show the ouster of Congress party, according to current trends.

Victory in the two states will provide a shot in the arm for the BJP before assembly elections in a clutch of states – including Karnataka, the last big state ruled by the Congress – in the first half of the next year.

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 16:45 IST