New Delhi: The Centre today downplayed the presence of leading political leaders at the swearing-in function of Narendra Modi, who assumed office of Chief Minister of Gujarat for the fourth consecutive time.
“I don’t think it is essential to tilt at windmills and read too much and extrapolate too much on certain people congregating for what is a formal ceremony of assumption of office,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters in New Delhi.
He was asked whether the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Modi’s swearing-in was an indication towards political alignments for the 2014 general elections.
Also in attendance at the function were Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Indian National Lok Dal leader Om Prakash Chautala, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, his cousin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale, besides the BJP leadership.
“I think it eventually depends on the state government concerned or the chief ministers concerned on whom he chooses to invite and whom he chooses not to invite, who chooses to attend and who chooses not to attend,” Tewari said.
His is swearing-in ceremony was boycotted by Congress and NDA constituent JD(U). Though an NDA partner, JD(U) had contested the Gujarat elections separately and won one seat.
Modi was sworn in as chief minister for the fourth time at the head of a 17-member ministry at a public ceremony in Ahmedabad. He is already the longest serving chief minister in the state.
Ahead of Modi’s visit to Delhi after his swearing-in, the AICC said that the victory of BJP in the state is due to “management” and not according to people’s expectations.
“They have won the seat not because people’s sentiments were with them but because of management. It’s the M factor, which ensured their win,” AICC in-charge for Gujarat Mohan Prakash told reporters.
A senior leader speaking on condition of anonymity said that Keshubhai Patel’s Gujarat Parivartan Party damaged Congress and led to defeat of its candidates in at least nine seats, four of which were reserved for Scheduled Castes.
The leader said that delimitation also cost the party dear as the number of urban seats, where the BJP is in a stronger position, rose improving the latter’s tally.
He said that the party lost a number of seats with a margin of below two thousand votes in Surashtra region.
“More than 122 Congress candidates got over 55 thousand votes but a large number of them lost with small margins,” the leader said.
Out of 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat, BJP won 115, Congress 61, NCP 02 and JDU and Independent one each.
The Gujarat Parivartan Party fielded 163 candidates, but only Keshubhai Patel from Visavadar in Junagadh and Nalin Kotadia from Dhari in Amreli won.
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 won 32, Congress got 13, GPP bagged 2 and NCP won one seat.