Gujarat Assembly Election Results 2017 highlights: Lotus blooms in two states but rural-urban divide writ large in Modi's home state
A prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a litmus test for new Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat today as counting of votes is set to begin shortly.
Congress leaders are busy giving a positive spin to the loss in Gujarat, say the party has improved its tally under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership. While Kamal Nath pointed out that Gujarat is a BJP bastion and Shashi Tharoor appreciated the fact that the "journey" had been good, Renuka Chowdary hailed Gandhi for his "brilliant intervention".
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani won from Rajkot West, while deputy chief minister Nitin Patel is leading in Mehsana. Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani won his maiden election from Vadgam constituency and Alpesh Thakor won from Radhanpur.
In 2012, the BJP won 119 seats in the 182-member Assembly, while the Congress won 57.
Modi led the campaign for the BJP, while Rahul Gandhi was the pivot of the Congress' electioneering.
During the campaign, Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah trained guns on the Congress on issues like Ram Temple, alleged Pakistani interference in the Gujarat polls and (suspended Congress leader) Mani Shankar Aiyar's remarks.
Gandhi persistently attacked Modi and the BJP for "not talking about the future of Gujarat" and skipping key issues being faced by the people of the state.
The Congress also stitched about a broad social coalition with prominent Patidar, OBC, and Dalit leaders - Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jigesh Mevani - in its bid to unseat the BJP in power for over two decades.
Patel led a long agitation of his community for reservation, while Thakor led an counter protest against inclusion of Patidars in the OBC reservation list. Mevani raised his voice against Dalit atrocities.
The influential Patidar community, which accounts for around 12 per cent of the state's population, could prove to be the 'X factor' in the polls in which Patel pledged support to the Congress and appealed to people to "uproot the BJP" this time.
As the campaign was nearing its end, "Vikas" (development) took a back seat, and caste and religious issues received prominence.
The two main rival parties also tried to counter each other on social media, as the Congress and its supporters launched the campaign "Vikas Gando Thayo Che" (development has gone crazy), while the BJP launched a counter drive of "I am development, I am Gujarat".
An average 68.41 per cent polling was recorded in the two-phase Assembly elections in Gujarat.
According to the final figures released by the Election Commission, the voter turnout in the second phase of balloting on December 14, for 93 seats of North and Central Gujarat, stood at 69.99 per cent.
In the first phase of polls held on December 9 for 89 seats in Saurasthra, Kutch and South Gujarat, 66.75 percent voting was recorded.
The total voter turnout this time has seen a dip of 2.91 percent, as compared to the 2012 polls when 71.32 percent polling was registered.
In terms of numbers, of the total 4.35 crore registered voters, 2.97 crore exercised their right to franchise in the elections held on 9 and 14 December.
According to the EC data, the tribal-dominated Narmada district witnessed the highest voter turnout of 79.15 per cent, while Devbhumi-Dwarka of Saurashtra region recorded the lowest at 59.39 per cent.
The districts which recorded a high turnout are — Tapi (78.56 percent), Banaskantha (75.15) and Sabarkantha (74.97). The districts which saw a low turnout are — Amreli (61.29), Bhavnagar (61.56) and Porbandar (61.86).
Out of the total 33 districts, 15 recorded over 70 per cent polling, while 17 others clocked between 60 per cent and 70 per cent.
Only Devbhumi Dwarka district registered polling below 60 per cent.
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