New Delhi: The Congress party would have won the Gujarat Assembly elections but for the National Congress Party of Sharad Pawar and the Bahujan Samaj Party of Mayawati cutting into its vote bank to help the BJP win at least 15 seats. Two of the seats were lost by a small margin of less than 500 while others were lost by 906 to 2839 votes, i.e. less than 3,000 votes.
The Congress lost Godhra, the site of the Sabarmati Express train burning that triggered riots in Gujarat in 2002, by a very narrow margin of 258 votes, while it lost Dholka in Ahmedabad district by 327 votes. C K Raulji (63) is the only Congress rebel to win among its MLAs who were rewarded by the BJP for defecting early this year. He was elected from Godhra by a margin of 258 votes over Congress candidate Lalabhai Rajendrasinh Parmar, who would have won but for the BSP’s Kumar Kanubhai Hirabhai cornering 1215 votes. Other seats that the Congress lost with small margins are: Botad 906, Vijapur 1164, Himatnagar 1712, Porbandar 1855, Gariandhar 1876, Umreth 1883, Rajkot rural 2179, Dabhoi 2239, Khambhat 2318, Vagra 2370, Matar 2406, Prantij 2551 and Fatepura 2711.
Former Opposition leader Arjun Modhwadia (60) of the Congress lost to Babubhai Bokhiriya of BJP in Porbandar by a margin of 1855, as Aanandbhai Maru of BSP sliced away 4337 votes. The BJP had its sway in the urban areas, including the city of Surat that was shut down for weeks over the GST (Goods and Service Tax); it elected BJP candidates on 15 of the 16 seats.
The party won 16 of the 21 seats in Ahmedabad, 9 out of 10 in Vadodara and 6 out of 8 in Rajkot, thus the urban votes accounting for almost half of the total seats won by it — 48 out of the BJP’s total tally of 99.