MORBI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Kantilal Amrutia, who reportedly saved several lives when a bridge collapsed in Morbi in October, is leading from the seat in the votes count for the Gujarat Assembly polls. According to the latest data by the Election Commission received till 11.30 am, Amrutia is leading on the seat having secured 37,598 votes.
Congress candidate Patel Jayantilal Jerajbhai is trailing on the second spot with 23,328 votes so far while the third spot is held by Aam Aadmi Party's Pankaj Kantilal Ransariya with 8,147 votes. The BJP candidate has got 54.19 per cent votes so far, according to the EC data. In the total tally from the Gujarat Assembly poll, BJP, at this time, is leading on 152 seats, Congress on 17 and AAP on 7 seats.
The campaigning in the constituency took place amid the allegations of mismanagement against the BJP in connection with the Morbi tragedy. The Opposition tried to use the tragic issue to slam the government in a high-decibel campaign, however, the trends suggest that they failed to influence the voters on the issue. The tragedy was called by the Supreme Court an "enormous tragedy". Earlier in November, the locals, while speaking to ANI had said that the Morbi tragedy was unlikely to dent the BJP chances in the state elections as they believed that the party was not responsible for the tragedy.
The incident took place weeks ahead of the announcement of the elections in the state, triggering speculations of a political setback for the ruling BJP in the state due to the massive mishap in Morbi. But people are of the opinion that they have been witnessing development under the BJP for a number of years and one should not judge the performance of the party based on a single tragic incident.
In the Morbi incident, a total of 134 persons, including women and children, died when a British-era cable bridge over the Machchu river collapsed on October 30. BJP fielded five-time MLA Kantilal Amritiya, popularly known as Kanabhai, who had won the Morbi assembly seat in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2012. Morbi is dominated by Patidars and by naming Kanti Amrutiya as the party's candidate, BJP's prospects are unlikely to get upset.