Gujarat elections: BJP makes a clean sweep
Ahmedabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made a clean sweep in Gujarat, the home state of Narendra Modi, by winning all the 26 Lok Sabha seats.
The party set a record, too, by breaking the one set by the Congress when it won 24 Lok Sabha seats in 1984.
Modi who contested from Vadodara won by a massive margin of 5.7 lakh votes, also a record of sorts, defeating Congress’s general secretary Madhusudan Mistry.
In his speech on Friday, Modi thanked a huge gathering in Vadodara for their faith in him and his party.
“The victory margin of 5.7 lakh votes is the highest ever in the history of Indian general elections,” he told an elated crowd.
Vadodara is considered a BJP bastion with the party having won successive elections there since 1998.
The BJP had 17 seats and Congress nine in the outgoing Lok Sabha.
Under Modi’s leadership, the BJP has scored impressive wins in the last three assembly elections in Gujarat, winning by thumping margins, and coming close to securing a two-third majority.
Party patriarch L.K. Advani won from Gandhinagar with a margin of more than 3 lakh votes.
Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal, who is making a biopic movie on Modi, won on a BJP ticket in Ahmedabad East constituency.
Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela, who is also leader of the opposition in the assembly, lost from Sabarkantha in North Gujarat.
The three Union ministers that the party fielded from Gujarat—Dinsha Patel, Bharat Solanki and Tushar Chaudhary— too, lost to their BJP opponents by huge margins.
A total of 413 candidates were in the fray and 4.05 crore voters exercised their franchise at 45,380 voting booths across the state.
The voter turnout increased from 50% in the previous election to 60%.
In Saurashtra, where eight seats were up for grabs, both the BJP and the Congress tried to play the caste card.
They fielded candidates from the Koli community—the largest caste group in Gujarat constituting about 20% of the population and also reported to be socially and economically backward—in Bhavnagar, Surendranagar and Junagadh.
In previous elections, both parties would choose candidates from the prosperous Patel community that had been dominant in these parts.
In Porbandar, Vitthal Radadiya of the BJP, who stirred controversy for flashing a gun at a highway toll booth, defeated Kandhal Jadeja of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Kandhal Jadeja is the son of of ‘Godmother’ Santokben Jadeja, an alleged gangster and underworld don who passed away in 2011. The NCP was fighting the seat as part of a poll arrangement with the Congress party.
In Jamnagar seat, Congress MP Vikram Maadam conceded defeat to his niece and Khambalia MLA Poonam Maadam contesting on a BJP ticket.
Poonam Maadam, daughter of Jamnagar city’s first mayor and six time MLA of Khambhalia assembly seat Hemant Maadam, was with the Congress earlier. She joined the BJP after she was denied her father’s traditional seat.
The corporate world seemed upbeat about the National Democratic Alliance’s winning absolute majority in the lower house of Parliament.
Gautam S. Adani, chairman, Adani Group, said the country needed a government which is capable of taking politically pragmatic and economically prudent decisions and stand by them.
“Mr Modi during his campaign has been emphasizing on government which will be decisive and will have focus on strong governance,” he said.
“We feel that the absolute majority will provide comfort to all stake-holders. The first sector which can take-off is infrastructure sector as majority of infrastructure projects are currently stuck due to delayed administrative decisions coupled with ambiguities in policy. The take-off by Infrastructure sector will have salutary effect on other sectors and in turn on the economy,” he added.
Parimal Nathwani, member of Rajya Sabha and group president, Corporate Affairs, Reliance Industries Limited, said the expectations from the new government under Modi’s leadership will be balanced growth and development across the country.
“The model of Gujarat will now be implemented as the model of India. The GDP growth, international image building, strength of the Indian Rupee, quick and bold decisions etc. are some of the expectations from him and his government at the Centre,” he said.