In what is being called yet another victory for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday wrested from the Congress all the six seats — two Lok Sabha and four Assembly seats — in the by-elections held in the State. The results reflect Narendra Modi’s clout in the State, given that he did not even campaign for the by-polls and let the candidates fend for themselves.
While the results of the by-elections may prove a big shock for the Congress, they have consolidated the Gujarat Chief Minister’s sway over the BJP in the State that already had 117 seats in the Assembly and 15 in the Lok Sabha.
The by-poll results, though not unexpected, have proved to be a shot in the arm for Mr. Modi, who is positioning himself as the prime ministerial candidate. He did not campaign for the by-elections but was sure of his party’s victory in all these seats. The Congress, on the other hand, woke up just around the polls.
The Opposition party had lost its State leader Arjun Modhwadia, as well as legislature party chief Shaktisinh Gohil, in the December polls and was now trying to retain its seats, but lost.
On Porbandar Lok Sabha seat, BJP’s Vitthal Radadia, who was caught brandishing a gun at a toll booth last year when he was a Congress MP and who later crossed over to BJP, defeated Congress rival Vinu Amipara with a big margin of over 1,28,000 votes.
Similarly, in Banaskantha, Haribhai Chaudhary of the BJP won against Krishna Gadhvi with a margin of more than 71,000 votes. Ms. Gadhvi’s husband Mukesh’s death had necessitated the by-election.
BJP’s Jayesh Radadia, who also defected from the Congress with his father, won the Jetpur Assembly seat against Jagdish Pambhar of Congress.
Nimisha Suthar from BJP won the Morva Hadaf (ST) Assembly seat by defeating Congress candidate Bhupendrasinh Khant. The seat was held by Mr. Kant’s mother Savita, who died during the counting of the Assembly election results last December.
Former State minister and BJP leader Kiritsinh Rana won the Limbdi seat by defeating Congress candidate Satish Patel.
The by-election was necessitated after Congress MP Soma Patel, who won the Limbdi Assembly seat too, resigned as an MLA. The Congress had fielded his son Satish on the seat.