Gujarat with lotus, Himachal says not us
AHMEDABAD/SHIMLA: Riding high on the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP on Thursday retained power in Gujarat for a record seventh straight term pulverising the opposition to secure the biggest majority ever in the State.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) set new records in the home state of Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah with its “historic” and “phenomenal” victory for a three-fourths majority, it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress after a close fight, as the hill state continued with its tradition of nearly four decades in voting out the incumbent party.
The vote share difference for the winning Congress and the BJP in Himachal Pradesh was less than one per cent, a point also noted by Modi and BJP President J P Nadda in their address to party workers at the BJP headquarters in Delhi in the evening.
While the Congress, which got a simple majority, polled 43.9 per cent votes, the vote share for the BJP in the home state of Nadda was 43 per cent.
As Modi continued to hold sway over voters and addressed 31 election rallies in Gujarat, the BJP also checkmated the new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the first ever triangular contests in the state and pushed the Congress down to its all time low.
Gujarat state BJP president C R Paatil said Bhupendra Patel, the party’s 60-year-old soft-spoken face in the state, would remain as the chief minister and his swearing-in ceremony would be held on December 12. Patel won the Ghatlodia seat in Ahmedabad by a huge margin of 1.92 lakh votes.
Modi said he was overcome with lot of emotions on the “phenomenal election results” in Gujarat.
The BJP, for whom Hindutva remained a political strategy, got support from all sections bagging 155 seats and was leading in 1 in a House of 182. It garnered a vote share of nearly 53 per cent which was the highest for the party in the western state.
The BJP, which bagged 99 seats in 2017 Assembly polls with a 49.1 per cent vote share, surpassed its previous best showing of 127 seats in 2002 when Modi was the chief minister.
Congress holds the all-time record of 149 seats that it had won in 1985 under the leadership of Madhavsinh Solanki. With a nearly 13 per cent vote share, the Arvind Kejriwal-headed AAP won only five of the 181 seats it contested.
In a video message, the Delhi Chief Minister said though the AAP has not won many seats the votes the party got helped it attain the national party status. The AAP also called its showing impressive.
The AAP also appeared to have played spoilsport for the Congress. With a vote share of nearly 28 per cent, the Congress won 17 seats.
In Himachal Pradesh, the Congress won 40 of the 68 seats at stake followed by the BJP, which bagged 25. Independents won three seats.
The AAP, which had fielded candidates in 67 seats, failed to make a debut and had a meagre vote share of 1.1 per cent.
Congress leaders in Himachal Pradesh credited its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi for its win which came as a boost for the grand old party.