Politics

Elections 2017: BJP Continues Winning Streak, to Form Government in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh

The Election Commission's official trends for Gujarat show BJP leading in 99 seats, Congress+ in 80, and others in three.

election results 2017, gujarat verdict, himachal pradesh elections, gujarat results

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Credit: PTI/Facebook

New Delhi: It’s counting day for the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections and the Bharatiya Janata Party seems set to form the government in both states. Counting began at 8 am and initial trends had indicated a close contest between the BJP and the Congress in Gujarat. Latest numbers in Gujarat show that the BJP has won 91 seats and is ahead in eight other seats of 182 seats, the Congress has won 77 seats and is ahead in three seats, others are ahead in three seats. In Himachal Pradesh, trends indicate the BJP heading towards a majority, winning 30 seats so far, with a lead in 14 other seats, while the Congress has won 17 seats and is ahead in four other seats, and others are ahead in three.

The Election Commission’s official trends for Gujarat show BJP leading in 99 seats, Congress+ in 81, Nationalist Congress Party in one, and others in one.

In Gujarat, the BJP’s Narayan Patel has lost Ujha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, to Congress’s Asha Patel, who has won by 19,000 votes. At least 40% of Unjha’s population is from the Patidar community.

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has won against Congress’s Indranil Rajguru and will retain the Rajkot West seat. Congress’s candidate from Radhanpur, Alpesh Thakor, defeated the BJP’s Solanki Lavingi Muljiji Thakor by a margin of 14,857 votes. Congress’s Arjun Modhwadiya has lost from the Porbandar constituency to BJP’s Babubhai Bokhiriya by 1,855 votes. Independent candidate activist-politician Jignesh Mevani has won from the Vadgam constituency in Banaskantha district by 19,696 votes against the BJP’s Vijay Chakravarti.

BJP workers have begun celebrations outside the party office in Himachal Pradesh. The party may be ahead in the state but has not been able to unsettle the father-son duo of chief minister Virbhadra Singh, contesting from Arki, and Aditya Vikram Singh contesting from Banjar in Shimla rural. Virbhadra Singh has won against Rattan Singh Pal of the BJP by 6,000 votes, and his son has won against Surender Shourie of the BJP. The BJP’s chief ministerial face for Himachal Pradesh, Prem Kumar Dhumal, has lost against Rajinder Rana of the Congress from the Sujanpur constituency.

Gujarat

Party Lead Win L+W/182 2017 Voteshare 2012 Results
BJP 0 99 99 49% 116(48%)
INC+ 0 77 77 41% 60(39%)
OTH 0 6 6 10% 6(13%)

Himachal Pradesh

Party Lead Win L+W/68 2017 Voteshare 2012 Results
BJP 0 44 44 48% 26(38%)
INC 1 20 21 41% 36(43%)
OTH 1 2 3 11% 6(18%)

 


Also read: As It Happened: Assembly Election Results 2017 – BJP Set for a Decisive Win in Gujarat, Himachal


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The leads reflect the trend that the exit polls had predicted – victories for the BJP in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh – although with much fewer seats in the Gujarat assembly.

In Gujarat, the poll of exit polls predicts the BJP to win with 112 of 182 seats and Congress to get 70.

The Times Now-VMR exit poll gave 115 of 182 seats to the BJP and 65 to the Congress, while the Republic-C Voter and the News 18-C Voter gave 108 seats to the BJP and 74 to the Congress. News24-Today’s Chanakya predicted 135 seats for the BJP and 47 for the Congress.

The outcome that these exit polls show are in line with the opinion polls for Gujarat from earlier this month.

A poll of opinion polls – with an average of the polls conducted by India TV, ABP-CSDS and Times Now – predicted 105-106 seats for the BJP and 73-74 seats for the Congress.

In Himachal Pradesh, the Times Now-VMR and Zee News-Axis exit polls predicted that the BJP would win 51 of the total 68 assembly seats, and the Congress would get 16 seats in the state. Another exit poll Zee News-Axis poll gave 17 seats to the Congress.

The Aaj Tak-Axis exit poll gave 47-55 seats to the BJP and 13-20 to the Congress and between zero and two to others. Among other exit polls, the NewsX survey predicted that the BJP would win 42-50 seats and the Congress 18-24.

In Gujarat, the run up to the polls saw a stiff contest as Congress picked holes in the Gujarat model and the BJP, which started on the vikas plank, went back to its Hindu nationalist campaign.

While urban voters in Gujarat seemed to lean towards the BJP, agricultural crisis and growing unemployment alienated rural Patidars from the party in North Gujarat. In the ceramics hub of Morbi however, anger against the BJP could divide even the urban voters. Peasants seem have sided with Patidar leader Hardik Patel, while affluent industrialists still had mixed feelings about the ruling party.

Hardik Patel's Sabha in Ahmedabad on October 24

Hardik Patel’s Sabha in Ahmedabad on October 24. Credit: Damayantee Dhat

Patidar anger divided voters in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah’s hometown Mehsana as well. Mehsana district has seven assembly seats and in the 2012 elections, BJP had won five seats while two seats went to the Congress. The most heavyweight candidate that the BJP fielded in this district was Nitin Patel from the Mehsana city constituency. The BJP strongman, a Patidar, is from Visnagar – the town that is also home to Hardik and Alpesh Thakor.

Nitin Patel faced Congress candidate Jivabhai Patel from Mehsana constituency, a local Patidar leader who was member of parliament in 2004. However, apart from the candidates from the two major parties, 32 other candidates contested from the constituency. Of the 32, notably, 25 were independents – nine from the Thakor community, five Dalits and six Muslims.

In Radhanpur constituency, the newly-inducted Thakor community leader Alpesh Thakor is the Congress candidate.

In the diamond hub of Surat, a city dominated by businessmen, the BJP had won all 12 seats in the 2012 elections. In this year’s assembly polls however, the aftereffects of the Patidar agitation, anger due to the Goods and Services Tax, and unpopularity of some of the sitting MLAs have become a bane for the BJP in its own fortress. Of the 12 constituencies, six – Varachha road, Kamrej, Katargam, Olpad and Udhana – are dominated by Patidars who had migrated from the Saurashtra region in search for jobs.

Gujarat’s current chief minister Vijay Rupani faced the Congress’ 51-year-old Indranil Rajguru in the Rajkot West constituency. Rajkot West has been something of an impregnable fortress for the BJP for the last two decades. Rajguru won the Rajkot East seat for the Congress in 2012.

Jignesh Mevani with Rahul Gandhi on the stage at a public meeting at Kanodar, December 9. Credit: Damayantee Dhar

Activist-turned-politician Jignesh Mevani, who had at first said he would not be contesting the assembly elections, on November 30, made a U-turn announcing he would contest from the Vadgam constituency, a seat reserved for Scheduled Tribes in Banaskantha district. The Dalit activist requested Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to withdraw their candidates and support him. AAP was the first to declare support and later, Congress too declared its support. The Congress fielded Manibhai Vaghela, sitting MLA from Vadgam, from Idar constituency in Sabarkantha district instead.

The seat has mostly been a stronghold and a ‘safe seat’ of the Congress. In 2012, Manibhai Vaghela of the Congress defeated Fakir Vaghela, a BJP heavy-weight and then a minister, by 21,839 votes. In 2007, Fakir Vaghela defeated Congress candidate Dolat Parmar by 9704 votes. Reportedly an independent candidate, Dinesh Parmar, bagged 16,372 votes defeating Dolat Parmar. However, Dolat Parmar has won from Vadgam assembly seat in 1980, 1985, 1998 and 2002.

Dolat Pamar’s son Ashwin Parmar, a Congress member from the area who was in the fray for a ticket and was refused by the party, has decided to contest as an independent candidate. The BJP candidate from the seat is Vijay Chakravarti, a local leader who had left Congress to join BJP two years ago. A total of ten candidates contested from the seat, including a candidate from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a local party called Jan Chetna and seven independent candidates.

In Jhagadiya in Bharuch’s Ankaleshwar, Gujarat’s tribal belt, the state’s lone Janata Dal (United) MLA Chotu Vasava formed an organisation called  Bhilistan Tiger Sena (BTS) two years ago. The BJP, sensing a dent in its loyal Patidar vote bank, has been eyeing tribal votes. From this constituency, the party fielded Ravji Vasava. Tribals form about 15% of the electoral population of Gujarat, yet its tribal belt hasn’t seen any development.

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh (left), BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal. Credit: PTI

In Himachal Pradesh’s Kotkhai, people’s anger over the mishandling of the Gudia rape case and murder might sway election results. The Wire reported that the BJP is trying to keep the anger alive and blame the state government for the incident, the Congress is attempting to shift the focus to development.

In the Kasauli assembly constituency, The Wire reported that the BJP has been relying heavily on technology to fight against anti-incumbency sentiment. The Congress has been hoping ‘Raja’ Virbhadra Singh’s charisma will see it through.

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