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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024
Overcome with emotion, tweets Prime Minister Modi

BJP poised for record win in Gujarat, but loses to Congress in Himachal

I bow to Gujarat's Jan Shakti, tweets Prime Minister Modi; Every promise made will be fulfilled, says Congress leader Rahul Gandhi after Himachal victory

Our Web Desk Published 08.12.22, 07:15 PM
A BJP worker plays a conch as he celebrates the party's victory in Gujarat Assembly elections, at BJP Headquarters in New Delhi

A BJP worker plays a conch as he celebrates the party's victory in Gujarat Assembly elections, at BJP Headquarters in New Delhi PTI Photo

The BJP was on Thursday poised for a landslide victory in Gujarat to retain power for a record seventh straight term but the Congress defied tradition and wrested Himachal Pradesh from the BJP as it crossed the majority mark of 35 seats in the 68-member Assembly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was overcome with a lot of emotions on the "phenomenal election results"."People blessed politics of development and at the same time expressed a desire that they want this momentum to continue at a greater pace. I bow to Gujarat's Jan Shakti," he said in a tweet, thanking the people of his home state.

Modi also lauded party workers in the state, saying each of them is a champion. "This historic win would never be possible without the exceptional hardwork of our Karyakartas, who are the real strength of our Party," he said.

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Reacting to the verdict in Himachal Pradesh where the Congress has wrested power from the BJP, Modi thanked voters of the hill state for their affection and support to the BJP and said his party will keep working to fulfil the aspirations of the state and raise people's issues in the times to come.

According to the latest results and trends available from Himachal, the Congress won 39 seats and was leading in 1, while BJP registered a win on 18 seats and was leading in seven others. Three Independents also emerged victorious.

Aam Aadmi Party, which had contested on 67 seats, failed to open its account.

On the Congress's victory in Himachal, former party president Rahul Gandhi said, "Heartfelt thanks to the people of Himachal Pradesh for this decisive victory. Hearty congratulations to all Congress workers and leaders. Your hard work and dedication are truly behind this victory," he said in a tweet in Hindi.

"I assure you again, every promise made to the public will be fulfilled at the earliest," Rahul added

After the first four hours of counting of votes in the Assembly elections in the BJP-ruled states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, early trends showed that the saffron party with a vote share of nearly 54 per cent was ahead in 152 out of 182 seats in the western state and could surpass its previous best showing of 127 seats in 2002 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister. Congress holds the all-time record of 149 seats that it had won in 1985 under the leadership of Madhavsinh Solanki.

In Himachal Pradesh, early trends, which indicated a close fight, showed that the Congress was ahead in 37 of the 68 seats followed by the BJP, which was leading in 28 seats and was hoping to buck the anti-incumbency trend witnessed in the hill state for nearly four decades. Independents were ahead in three constituencies. The AAP, which had fielded candidates in 67 seats, was trailing in all seats.

Banking on the charisma of Modi, who addressed as many as 30 election rallies in Gujarat, the BJP overcame anti-incumbency yet again after being in power for 27 years without losing an election since 1995. It had 99 seats in the outgoing house with a 49.1 per cent vote share.

With its expected huge victory in the home state of Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP, which focused on a development agenda, was set to equal the Left Front’s feat of seven consecutive terms in West Bengal. The CPI(M)-led Front ruled the eastern state for 34 years from 1977 to 2011.

Though the Opposition took on the Modi government over rising inflation, slowing growth and joblessness, the economic troubles apparently did not dent BJP's popularity in Gujarat that has been a bastion of the party for decades and where Modi was chief minister from 2001 to 2014.

Pulverised by the BJP, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) initially seemed to be locked in a battle to grab the status of the main opposition party in the state with the grand old party having an edge. The Congress and the AAP were leading in 20 and six constituencies respectively.

While the Congress was not expected to replicate its creditable performance of the last Assembly elections in 2017, a good showing by the AAP could have helped its supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal cement his place as a key challenger to Prime Minister Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The AAP is also in power in Punjab.

The Congress' campaign, mostly shouldered by local leaders, has leaned on door-to-door canvassing for votes as its leader Rahul Gandhi, who had aggressively campaigned in the 2017 elections, chose to stay away to focus on the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

The AAP had carried out a high-decibel campaign to make it a three-way fight for the first time in Gujarat where the Congress and the BJP have been traditional rivals. Emboldened by the victory in the Delhi municipal elections, the AAP had hoped its politics of welfarism will be accepted by the people in Gujarat.

Hundreds of BJP workers thronged the party office in capital Gandhinagar as they danced and distributed sweets outside the state party headquarters.

"It is a victory of the party's double-engine development agenda. The massive verdict reflects people's trust in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. It is a victory of the agenda of development that the party has carried out in the state," Gujarat BJP spokesperson Yamal Vyas told PTI.

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