GANDHINAGAR: The BJP was set to scrape through in a bitterly fought election in Gujarat on Monday with it’s tally down to less than 100 seats and the Congress making significant gains though falling short primarily because of it’s inability to bludgeon through the ruling party’s urban bastion.
The results in any case will be a far cry from the BJP bluster of bagging 150 of the total 182 seats in the Gujarat Assembly parroted by their leaders led by national party chief Amit Shah.
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The Congress had at one point shot into the lead in the morning giving a fright to it’s ruling rival which has been governing the state for over two decades, but then gave way leading to elation in the saffron camp.The Congress, which had been trailing the BJP by over 35 seats again made some gains in the afternoon narrowing the gap to just 17 with BJP leading in 98 seats and the Congress in 81,up 20 seats from the 2012 elections.
Though the BJP looks set to get a clear majority for the fifth consecutive time, it has for all practical purposes dented the BJP in it’s own bastion. The gains against the last Assembly elections not withstanding, the Congress has nevertheless suffered a setback in that three of it’s key leaders Shaktisinh Gohil (Kutch), Siddarth Patel (Central Gujarat) and Arjun Modvadia (Porbandar) have lost. For the BJP, it’s leaders who fell by the wayside include Dilip Sanghani, Shankar Chaudhary, Rajni Patel, Chiman Saparia, Jassa Barad, Mahendra Mushru and Jaynarayan Vyas. Of the triad of three youth leaders who were a thorn in the flesh of the ruling BJP, two had contested elections. OBC leader Alpesh Thakore who had subsequently joined the BJP and dalit leader Jignesh Mevani who contested the polls as an independent supported by the Congress have both been elected.Patidar leader Hardik Patel being underage did not contest the elections but led a statewide stir with the clarion call to defeat the BJP.