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Gujarat election result: BJP edges past Congress in PM Modi’s home state

In the Gujarat assembly elections 2017, exit polls have predicted a win for the BJP, in power in the state for the last 22 years.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2017 14:48 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Ahmedabad, Hindustan TImes
Gujarat election result,Counting of votes,
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during an election campaign rally at Jasdan in Gujarat.(AP)

The BJP is on course to retain its citadel of Gujarat for a record sixth successive term, having won 28 seats and leading in 70, latest Election Commission figures show. (Live updates)

The Congress, which took the battle to the BJP in a hard-fought election, had won 21 and was leading in 57 seats, the EC website showed at 2.45pm.

The majority mark in the 182-member assembly is 92.

The Nationalist Congress Party bagged one seat, so did the Bharitya Tribal Party that was also leading in one constituency. Independents were leading in three, the EC data said.

Chief minister Vijay Rupani, who was earlier trailing, won from Rajkot West beating his nearest rival, Congress’ Indranil Rajyaguru. Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel defeated Congress’ Jivabhai Patel from Mehsana.

The contest in Gujarat has been much closer than was predicted by most exit polls, which foretold a bigger margin of victory for the BJP that went into elections battling an agrarian crisis and protests from its loyal Patidar vote bank.

“Jo jeeta wohi sikandar. It is victory of every (BJP) booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development,” information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani said when asked about the tough fight put up by the Congress.

Stock markets that had crashed in the morning as early trends pointed to a tight finish stabilised later during the day. The BSE index was up 241 points whereas the Nifty barometer reclaimed the 10,400-mark.

The outcome is not the best of the starts for Rahul Gandhi’s term as the Congress president, who took over from Sonia Gandhi on December 16.

Gandhi led a spirited campaign by stitching up a broad coalition of caste groups, including the Patidars, disenchanted with the BJP.

Backward caste leader Alpesh Thakor, who joined the Congress, in the run-up to the election won from Radhanpur.

Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, who contested as an independent and was backed by the Congress, won Vadgam.

Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who led the influential community’s stir for reservation in government jobs and education, was a year short of 25, the minimum age to contest an election.

A win for the BJP would reinforce its political dominance and affirmation of Modi’s popularity.

Senior Union ministers, including Rajnath Singh and

Prakash Javadekar, said the polls trends reflected the impact of Modi’s leadership, while party leaders like Sakshi Maharaj attributed the outcome to the Prime Minister’s “magic”.

The BJP got 115 and the Congress 61 in the 2012 election.

With agency inputs

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 09:23 IST