BJP wins Gujarat, wrests HP from Congress

New Delhi, Dec 18: The BJP is all set to walk away with a clear win in Gujarat for the sixth consecutive time, and wrest the hill state of Himachal by a two thirds majority but with its chief ministerial candidate losing his seat, while the Opposition Congress is on way to significantly improving its tally, restricting the saffron party to much below its 2012 tally in Prime Minister Modi’s state, as per the latest Election Commission figures.
Despite defeat in Gujarat, the Congress and its newly-installed president Rahul Gandhi have much to feel satisfied about their performance in the state in view of the fact that it was Modi’s home base and a BJP stronghold.
“This is double joy for me,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a former Gujarat chief minister, in a victory speech at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.
He said he was happy that his successors continued the development work which he had spearheaded during his nearly 13- year tenure as the chief minister.
Political observers ascribed the improved Congress performance to Gandhi’s tireless campaign for three months in the state and its alliances with local Patel, tribal and Dalit outfits.
That the going was tough for the BJP was evident from all the might Modi and his party had pooled in the western state which saw the fiercest war of nerves between the two political parties of recent times.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had so far won 80 seats as against 70 of the Congress, while one seat apiece has been claimed by the Nationalist Congress Party and Independents. Two seats have gone to the Bharatiya Tribal Party in the election to the 182-member Assembly, as per Election Commission figures that had come by 1730 hrs.
The saffron party was leading at another 20 seats and the Congress on six.
In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP had won 13 seats and the Congress 13 in the 68-member Assembly. The two parties were leading at 21 and eight seats, respectively.
In the last elections, the BJP had got 115 seats and the Congress 61
A major upset for the BJP was the likely defeat of its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, who was trailing behind his Congress rival with a heavy margin. (UNI)