BJP set to retain Gujarat with thin margin; Congress puts up spirited show

The BJP was on course to retain power in Gujarat today, but with a reduced margin as it fought off a resurgent Congress, which is set to increase its tally in the 182-member state Assembly.
BJP set to retain Gujarat with thin margin; Congress puts up spirited show
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The saffron outfit has so far won 91 seats and is leading in 8 others, according to the Election Commission website.
The Congress, which had won 73 seats in the outgoing Assembly, is set to improve its tally this time, as it has already clinched 70 seats and is leading on 4 others.
The NCP emerged victorious on one seat, while the Bhartiya Tribal Party won two seats. An independent also won, while two others were leading.
The BJP, which has been in power in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state uninterruptedly since 1998, had won 155 seats in the last Assembly polls in 2012..
To form a government in the state, a party or a coalition needs at least 92 seats.
The BJP has so far got 49.1 per cent of total votes poll, a slight increase from 48 per cent it had in 2012.
The Congress had last time got 39 per cent vote share, which has increased to 41.4 per cent in 2017, according to figures available so far.
The BJP put up a stellar performance in urban centres, while the Congress got upper hand in rural areas.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani retained the Rajkot West seat by defeating Congress' Indranil Rajyaguru by over 54,000 votes.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was also ahead of Congress candidate Jivabhai Patel in Mehsana.
Among other prominent winners were BJP leader and Fisheries Minister Babubhai Bokhiriya, who defeated senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia in Porbandar.
BJP's Suresh Patel held the prestigious Maninagar seat, the former constituency of Modi, by defeating Congress candidate Shweta Brahmbhatt by 75,199 votes.
In Mahuva seat in Bhavnagar district, BJP's Raghav Makwana defeated independent candidate Kanu Kalsaria.
The BJP also won the Umbergaon seat in Valsad.
The Congress won Mahudha seat in Kheda district where its nominee Indrajitsinh Parmar defeated BJP's Bharatsinh Parmar by 13,601 votes.
Congress' Alpesh Thakor, the face of OBC community in Gujarat, is leading in Radhanpur seat against Lavingji Thakor of the BJP.
Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil is trailing against BJP's Virendrasinh Jadeja from Mandvi seat.
State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani is leading over Dilipsinh Gohil of Congress in Bhavnagar West.
Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani won from Vadgam while contesting as an independent with the Congress' support. He defeated BJP's Vijay Chakravarti by over 19,000 votes.
Congress nominee and Leader of Opposition Mohansinh Rathwa defeated his closest rival Jasubhai Rathwa of the BJP by a narrow margin of 1,093 votes in Chhota Udepur.
However, another senior Congress leader Siddharth Patel lost to BJP's Shailesh Mehta in Dabhoi.
Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) chief Chhotu Vasava won by an impressive margin of 48,948 votes over Ravjibhai Vasava of the BJP from the tribal constituency of Jhagadia. BTP is a Congress ally. Vasava has formed the party after breaking away from the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U).
However, BJP heavyweight Dilip Sanghani lost to Congress candidate J V Kakadiya in Dhari, Amreli district.
The elections for the 182-seat Assembly were held on December 9 and 14, after an acrimonious campaign, which was dominated by a face-off between Prime Minister Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
In the 2012 elections, the BJP had won 115 seats while the Congress emerged victorious in 61 seats.
The BJP has won every election since 1995 in the home state of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. However, it was out of power for a couple of years due to party infighting and rebellion by Shankersinh Vaghela, who broke away from the BJP and formed Rashtriya Janata Party government in 1996.
The saffron party came back to power in 1998, and has ruled uninterrupted since then.

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