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Congress wrests 3 Assembly seats from BJP in Gujarat

Barely four months after its clean sweep in Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat, BJP on suffered a setback losing three of the nine Assembly seats to Congress in bypolls but retained Vadodara Lok Sabha seat vacated by Narendra Modi by an impressive margin.

Down in the dumps in the State where it could not open its account in Lok Saba elections as BJP clinched all 26 constituencies, Congress surprised its saffron rival wresting Dessa, Mangrol and Khambalia Assembly seats.

BJP retained Maninagar, Tankara, Talaja, Anand, Kheda and Limkheda.

By-elections to the nine Assembly constituencies were held after incumbent BJP MLAs got elected to Lok Sabha in May, while in Vadodara it was necessitated following Modi’s decision to retain the Varanasi seat.

In Vadodara, BJP candidate Ranjanben Bhatt thumped her Congress rival Narendra Rawat by over 3.29 lakh votes. The margin of victory, though impressive, paled in comparison to that of Modi, who had won the seat by 5.7 lakh votes.



The Maninagar Assembly seat, also vacated by Modi following his election to Lok Sabha, went to BJP’s kitty quite comfortably with its candidate Suresh Patel defeating Congress’ Jatin Kella by nearly 50,000 votes.



The bypolls were seen as a test of leadership abilities of Modi’s chosen successor Anandiben Patel under whom the party failed to replicate its spectacular showing of Lok Sabha elections.



Though Modi himself was physically absent from the electoral scene as Prime Ministers usually do not campaign in bypolls, BJP’s election propaganda largely centred on efforts initiated by him for good governance.



Patel, in her election meetings, even exhorted the voters to elect BJP candidates from all seats as a birthday gift to Modi, who turns 64 on Wednesday.



The bypoll results were, however, a mixed bag for Modi, who arrived here in the afternoon, a day ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s India visit that kicks off from Ahmedabad tomorrow.



Modi, back in Gujarat for the first time since assuming office of the Prime Minister, accepted the felicitations in an uncharacteristically short speech but made no mention of the results of the bypolls.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 9:38:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gujarat-bypolls-high-stakes-for-bjp/article6414908.ece

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