Gujarat resoundingly backs its ‘son of the soil’ yet again

BJP repeats 2014 performance by sweeping State’s 26 seats

May 23, 2019 10:36 pm | Updated 11:36 pm IST - AHMEDABAD

Proud moment:  Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraben Modi greeting the media outside her house in Gandhinagar .

Proud moment: Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraben Modi greeting the media outside her house in Gandhinagar .

Gujarat has voted for its ‘son of the soil’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, yet again giving all the State’s 26 seats to the BJP. With over 60% vote share, the party swept all seats with massive margins. Party President Amit Shah won from the State capital Gandhinagar by more than five lakh votes, surpassing party patriarch L.K. Advani’s 2014 victory margin of 4.83 lakh.

However, the largest margin in the State was set by veteran parliamentarian C.R. Patil from Navsari in South Gujarat. Mr. Patil trounced his nearest rival by more than six lakh votes.

The BJP won all 26 seats including four tribal reserved and two scheduled caste reserved seats in the State.

Besides Mr. Shah, other senior leaders who won include Union Minister Jaswantsinh Bhabhor from Dahod (ST) and Parbatbhai Patel, Gujarat’s Water Resources Minister, who posted a win in Banaskantha.

Moreover, three sitting legislators — Bharatji Thakor from Patan, Hasmukh Patel from Ahmedabad East and Ratansinh Rathod from Panchamahal — have made it to the parliament.

On the other hand, the Opposition parties drew a blank again with several Congress heavyweights including two former union ministers and as many as eight sitting legislators, including the leader of the Opposition, losing the polls to the saffron party.

Gujarat saw a record turnout of 64.1% when all 26 Lok Sabha constituencies went to the polls on April 23.

Assembly polls blip

The ruling party’s stellar electoral performance in Gujarat has come almost 15 months after the significant inroads the Congress had made in the State in the Assembly polls held in December 2017. The Opposition party had won 77 out of 182 seats, reducing the BJP’s tally in the Assembly to double digits (99) for the first time since 1995.

While the Congress was hopeful of repeating its performance in the general election, Gujarat’s voters clearly appear to have opted to back the State’s ‘popular son’ Mr. Modi. The party president’s debut in the Lok Sabha polls also enthused the BJP cadre in the State.

While the Opposition party had focused its campaign on agriculture distress, drought in Saurashtra and North Gujarat, rising unemployment and local factors, the BJP had fought the polls on the ‘leadership’ credentials of Mr. Modi, who previously served as Chief Minister of the State for 13 years from October 2001 to May 2014 when he took over as Prime Minister.|

Congress faces setbacks

However, the Congress party the opposition party suffered a series of setbacks in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls when half a dozen senior legislators including prominent OBC leader Alpesh Thakor resigned from the party. All legislators except Mr. Thakor immediately joined the BJP, while the OBC leader is likely to join the ruling party in next few weeks.

“People of Gujarat once again reposed their faith in the leadership of Narendra Modi, proud son of Gujarat,” said Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, while celebrating his party’s victory in all parliamentary seats in the State.

In addition to winning all the Lok Sabha seats, the ruling party also won all four Assembly bypolls, delivering a severe blow to the Congress. The bypolls were necessitated after the Congress legislators resigned and joined the BJP.

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