BJP won 99 seats in the 182-seat Gujarat assembly on Monday, while the Congress and its alliance secured 80 seats, 19 seats more than 2012.
The BJP’s tally was just seven more than what the party needed to secure a majority in the Gujarat assembly. Such was the anti-incumbency against the party that five of its ministers including two cabinet minister, Atmaram Parmar and Chimanbhai Sapariya, in the incumbent government lost their seats.
The saffron party also lost the hometown seat of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Unjha in Vadnagar.
That was not all. The party’s victory margin in at least 11 places were so thin that the results could have gone either way.
Here are those 11 seats;
- In Botad, BJP’s Saurabh Patel received 79623 votes, just 906 more than what the Congress’s DM Patel secured.
- In Dabhoi, the BJP’s Kanhaiyalal Mehta got 77945 votes, 2839 votes more than his Congress rival Siddarth Patel.
- In Dholka, Bhupendra Singh Chudasama of the BJP defeated his Congress rival Ashvinbhai Rathod by just 327 votes
- In Fatepura, BJP’s Rameshbhai Katara’s victory margin was 2711 as he defeated Raghubhai Machhar of the Congress
- In Gariadhar, Keshubhai Nakrani of the BJP won by 1876 as he defeated Pareshbhai Kheni of the Congress
- In Godhra, BJP’s CK Raulji won by just 236 votes
- In Himatnagar, BJP’s Rajubhai Chavda won by just 1712 votes. The Congress, once again was close second
- In Khambhat, BJP’s Mayur Raval secured 71459, while the Congress candidate Shantibhai Khushmanbhai Patel received 69,141 votes
- In Matar, Kesar Singh Solanki of the BJP was declared victorious by 2,406 votes
- In Porbandar, BJP’s Babubhai Bokhiria defeated Congress heavyweight Arjun Modhvadia by just 1855 votes
- In Vagra too, the BJP’s Arunsinh Rana won by just 2628 votes
- In Vijapur, the BJP candidate Dhulabhai Ramanbhai Patel won by just 1164 votes. BSP and NCP polled more than 1700 votes here. Two independent candidates too secured close to 3,000 votes.
The BJP had its share of narrow misses as well. Apart from Kaprada constituency, the party lost the Mansa seat by a vote of 524 votes and the Deodar seat by 972 votes.
Sanjay Nirupam of the Congress was quick to blame the EVM for the party’s inability to wrest power from the BJP. Taking to Twitter, Nirupam questioned the saffron party’s good showing despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing empty chairs and ‘people of Gujarat being against the BJP.’
He wrote, “When the entire Gujarat was against the BJP and Prime Minister addressed empty chairs, then today’s victory has happened not because of the people of the state but EVMs. We always suspected it and, therefore, warn people to beware because India’s democracy is in danger.”
However, one senior leader within the party said that the Congress ought to have asked for recounting using VVPAT papers in places where BJP’s margins of victory was thin.
Meanwhile, BJP won all four major cities of Gujarat as the party secured 16 out of 21 seats in Ahmedabad, 15 out of 16 seats in Surat, 9 out of 10 seats in Vadodara and 6 out of 8 seats in Rajkot.
In rural Gujarat, the saffron party’s performance was poor as the Congress won 71 out of total 127 seats while the saffron party had to contend with just 53 seats here.
Congress adding 19 more seats to its kitty compared to its performance of 2012 amidst the BJP deploying almost the entire cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for campaigning assumes significance.