The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP flaunts poll figures

New Delhi, Dec. 23: In the recent Gujarat Assembly polls, the BJP won in 21 new constituencies, the first time it has bagged so many new seats, reports our special correspondent.

It created a record when it bagged a seat with a 1,50,000-vote margin. In four other seats, the BJPís victory margin exceeded a lakh. The margin hovered between 1,00,000 and 50,000 in six constituencies.

BJP general-secretary Arun Jaitly, who had campaigned extensively in Gujarat, reeled out these figures today.

The party fielded more women this time, between four and seven, he said. The number of Scheduled Caste candidates, too, jumped from nine to 13 and that of Scheduled Tribes from 14 to 26. Of the 98 MLAs who went to the polls, 70 were returned to the Assembly. Fifty-six freshers got the chance to jump into the fray.

Jaitly, continuing with the figures, said 30 seats recorded a BJP victory margin of 25,000 to 50,000. In 11 others, the lower end of the margin was 20,000. It dipped to 10,000 in 44 seats.

Among the seats wrested narrowly were 85 with just over 10,000 votes and six seats with 1,000 to 2,000, and nine with less than 1,000 votes.

The closest was a 70-vote victory.

Some losses, too, came narrowly. According to Jaitly, nine seats were lost for less than 2,000 votes.

Compared with 44.81 per cent votes polled in 1997, the BJP won 126 seats this time garnering 49.79 per cent votes.

Five years ago, the Congress had polled 34.85 per cent and Shankersinh Vaghelaís Rashtriya Janata Party 11.86 per cent.

This time, the Congress, with Vaghela included, polled 39.39 per cent.

The figures on polls finally gave way to statistics on the new Gujarat Cabinetís composition. Among Modiís ministers are two MBA graduates from the US, 10 lawyers, four professors, five doctors, eight educationists, two engineers and a film actor along with a sprinkling of businessmen and farmers.

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