After an initial few hours of nail-biting suspense, the verdict for Gujarat is clear- the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has secured its sixth-straight term in the state.
Out of the total 182 seats, the party won 99 seats, seven more than the mark of absolute majority, while the Congress won 77 seats. Besides this, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won one seat, Bharatiya Tribal Party won 2 seats and three independent candidates also won the people’s mandate.
Though the victory was predicted for BJP, what was not expected was the huge turn around for Congress. There were times in the initial phase of counting when BJP was trailing behind Congress.
In fact, the state’s current CM Vijay Rupani himself, was trailing initially, only to gain a lead and finally mark his victory over the Rajkot West seat, defeating Senior Congress leader Indranil Rajyaguru by a margin of 54,300 votes.
BJP: Key Winners
Jitubhai Vaghani: The state BJP President won from Bhavnagar West constituency, defeating his nearest Congress rival Dilipsingh Gohil.
Babubhai Bokhiriya: The BJP leader and Fisheries Minister defeated senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia in Porbandar with a margin of 1855 votes.
Suresh Patel: The sitting BJP MLA retained the prestigious Maninagar seat, the former constituency of Modi, by defeating Congress candidate Shweta Brahmbhatt by 75,199 votes.
Ramanlal Vora: The Gujarat Assembly speaker and BJP candidate has also won his seat.
Abesinh Tadvi: The BJP candidate beat sitting Congress MLA Dhiru Bhil to win tribal constituency of Sankheda in Chhota Udepur district.
Shailesh Mehta Sotta: The BJP candidate has won from Dabhoi Assembly Constituency in Vadodara, defeating Congress leader Siddharth Patel.
Nitin Patel: The current Deputy Chief Minister, who was initially trailing behind Congress candidate Jivabhai Patel, has won the Mehsana seat.
Congress: Key Winners
Alpesh Thakor: The Congress-backed candidate, a backward-class leader who was trailing initially, picked up fast lead and won from Gujarat's Radhanpur assembly constituency, one of the largest constituencies in Gujarat.
Jignesh Mevani: The Dalit leader contesting as an independent candidate backed by Congress, also won from Vadgam constituency.
Chirag Kalsariya: The Congress candidate won the Jamjodhpur seat in Jamnagar district, defeating current Energy Minister Chiman Sapariya by 2,456 votes.
Imran Yusufbhai Khedawala: The Congress candidate has wrested the Jamalpur Khadia seat from BJP.
Indrajit Sinh Parmar: The party candidate has won from Mahudha constituency defeating his nearest BJP rival Bharatsinh Parmar by a margin of 13,601 votes.
Paresh Dhanani: The Congress candidate has won the Amreli seat, defeating BJP’s Bavkubhai Undhad.
Significance of the Election Results
Though BJP’s victory was predicted by most exit polls, what the polls didn’t predict was the tough neck-to-neck competition posed by the Congress Party.
The BJP, which had won 115 out of 182 seats in the 2012 assembly elections, was expected to perform much better and Congress, which had got 61 seats, was expected to perform even worse.
The election was seen as a high-stakes battle between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose home state is Gujarat, and the newly appointed Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is attempting to reverse his party's dismal record in recent state elections.
The win was necessary for the ruling party in order to set its momentum in the run to the 2019 parliamentary polls when PM Modi will seek a second term.