No enemies, only competitors in politics, says Gujarat strongman

Video: Himachal polls: Congress moving towards victory

Registering a third consecutive win in the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha elections with a nearly two-thirds majority, Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the six crore people of the State to take the message of “development and good governance” to other States.

“It is the beginning of a new era in politics. It is a victory for all Indians,” he said in his ‘acceptance speech’ in Hindi, addressing his Gujarati voters, in an attempt to reach out to other States as well.

Modi himself won his Maninagar seat with a margin of over 86,000 votes, defeating his nearest Congress rival Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt.

Although the BJP won 115 seats in a house of 182, two less than it won in 2007 (117), four of its ministers, including Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas and Agriculture Minister Dilip Sanghani lost the polls.

The State BJP chief R. C. Faldu also lost his seat. The Congress party won 61 seats, two more than in 2007, although both GPCC President Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of the Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil lost their seats, and resigned their posts.

The Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), floated by dissident BJP leader Keshubhai Patel, won two seats. Two seats went to NCP, one to JD(U) and one to other candidate.

Among the notables who won were former Chief Ministers Keshubhai Patel (GPP) and Shankersinh Vaghela (Congress). GPP General Secretary Gordhan Jhadafia lost his seat. Soon after the results came out, displaying magnanimity, Modi went to take blessings of his mother Heeraba and one-time mentor Keshubhai Patel.

As his supporters chanted “Ab tak CM, Ab PM” (‘Until now you were the Chief Minister, now we want you to be the Prime Minister’), he said the development plank the BJP based its election campaign on had won and asked the people of Gujarat to take this message to other States. He also said there were no enemies in politics, only competitors. “I have worked for all the people of Gujarat and not levelled any allegations against anyone at personal levels. However, if I have had any shortcomings, I apologise for it.”

Terming the Gujarati voters as “mature” who could see through the “falsehoods”, Modi said the people had risen above the traditional “poisons”, the differences like regionalism, casteism, etc, and did not want to see the 1980s’ era return. “Now, they want political stability and accountability”.

He also took potshots at “political pundits” and TV experts who, he said, had no appetite to digest the Gujarat results.

PTI reports: However, Congress extracted a sweet revenge defeating BJP in the hill State of Himachal Pradesh. The party secured a wafer-thin majority of 36 in a House of 68, one more than the half-way mark of 35.The BJP managed to get only 26 while independents got 5 and Himachal Loktantrik Party one. In the last elections, the BJP got 41 and Congress 23.

(This article was published on December 20, 2012)
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