Gujarat 2017

Congress doubles tally in BJP bastion Saurashtra

Reverse consolidation of OBCs did not happen

After nearly two decades, the Opposition Congress made impressive inroads in BJP’s bastion, Saurashtra region, which sends the largest number of legislators (54) to the Gujarat Assembly.

The Congress won 30 seats, doubling its tally from 2012, in a major setback to the ruling party, which dominated the region since 1995.

In several districts of the region, the BJP could not even open its account like Morbi, Amreli and Gir Somnath where the Congress swept all seats.

Only Rajkot and Bhavnagar districts saved the day for the party as it won six out of eight in Rajkot and six out of seven in Bhavnagar.

“Bhavnagar was weak for us from the beginning,” a Congress strategist who played a crucial role in candidate selection told The Hindu, adding, “the party needs to cultivate Koli leadership in the district.”

Expectation belied

In fact, the BJP’s expectation of reverse consolidation of OBCs did not happen in Saurashtra as Kolis and Patidars have apparently voted for the Opposition candidates in Surendranagar, Morbi, Junagadh, Amreli, Gir Somnath and Jamnagar districts.

Besides Saurashtra, North Gujarat is another province where the Congress fared better, wining a good number of seats in Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Patan and Gandhinagar.

Only in Mehsana where the Congress was expected to pick up more seats compared to its 2012 performance, it could not improve its tally, as it lost two seats, Vijapur and Visnagar narrowly.

Even in Ahmedabad city and the district, the Congress got two seats more than its previous tally, as it won four seats in the city compared to last time’s two and retained two seats in the district.

In Central province, the ruling party’s gamble to field Congress turncoats in Thasra and Balasinor failed as the Congress retained both seats in Kheda district and won five out of seven in neighbouring Anand district where the BJP expected to gain, milking the milk cooperatives network in villages.

For the ruling party, Gujarat’s diamond city once again saved the day as it handed all 12 seats in the city, repeating the 2012 performance despite the Patidar agitation, traders’ protests over GST and other factors.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 10:29:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/gujarat-2017/congress-doubles-tally-in-bjp-bastion-saurashtra/article21938531.ece

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