Ahmedabad: Gujarat Assembly poll results have shown that former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, who formed his own party just before the elections, with the only aim to dislodge his bete noire Narendra Modi, has failed to inspire voters in his own Saurashtra region, which more or less tilted towards the BJP.
The Gujarat Parivartan Party, fielded 163 candidates, but only Keshubhai Patel from Visavadar in Junagadh, and Nalin Kotadia from Dhari in Amreli succeeded to win, failing to put up a stiff challenge to Modi and BJP.
Even Gordhan Zadafia, who was Minister of State for Home in BJP government in 2002, and was said to be the force behind the large scale efforts to mobilise people of Saurashtra behind the 84-year-old veteran, lost from Gondal constituency by 19,766 votes to BJP candidate Jayrajsinh Jadeja.
During more than two months of sustained campaigning, Keshubhai and his party leaders expressed confidence of winning as many seats in Gujarat, laying claim to be the deciding force for the next government in the state, if not form the government.
Even political pundits were predicting a large scale dent into BJP prospects in the Saurashtra belt, where Keshubhai's Leuva Patel community holds sway, but it was virtually a no-show for the fledgling party.
As far as the seat count is concerned, compared to the 2007 Assembly elections, voters of Saurashtra did not pay heed to the appeals of Keshubhai, who led a vitriolic campaign to defeat Modi.
In 2007, before the implementation of de-limitation of the constituencies in the state, out of 52 seats in seven districts of Saurashtra, BJP had won 39 seats, while Congress had won 12 and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had secured one seat.
This time, out of 48 seats, spread across seven districts of Saurashtra, BJP has won 32, Congress has garnered 13, GPP got 2 and NCP has won one seat.
In Surat, where GPP was expected to perform well because of many small businesses and diamond traders having family roots in Saurashtra, the party has failed miserably with all its candidates losing mandate.