Elections

Gujarat keeps its ‘26/26’ promise to its ‘Son of the Soil’ as traders, youth help Modi wave

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on May 23, 2019 Published on May 23, 2019

It’s party time Gujarat BJP workers celebrate their victory at Kamalam , the party headquarters, in Gandhinagar on Thursday   -  The Hindu

Congress loses the momentum it had enjoyed in 2017

Gujarat kept its promise to its ‘Son of the Soil’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, winning him all the 26 Lok Sabha seats from the State.

At an election rally in Patan, Modi had made a fervent appeal to the voters of his home State. “You have a big responsibility. If there is some lacuna in (getting) all 26 seats, it will put aside our winning charm and all attention will go to even a single loss in Gujarat,” he had said.

Now, the BJP has not only repeated its 2014 performance with a clean sweep in Gujarat, but also increased its vote share and margins.

Notwithstanding the air of discontent over farm distress and unemployment, the ruling party secured a vote share of 62.2 per cent, up from 59 per cent in 2014. The minimum winning margin for BJP candidates was 1,00,000 votes, indicating a decisive mandate for Modi.

 

The ‘Modi magic’ isn’t new in Gujarat, where he had served as CM four times in succession. The business community and youth came out in large numbers to vote, which is believed to have turned the mandate in the BJP’s favour.

Amit Shah’s big win

A big win for the BJP was in the Gandhinagar constituency, from where its National President Amit Shah made his Lok Sabha debut, replacing party veteran LK Advani. Shah defeated the Congress’s CJ Chavda with margin of over 5.55 lakh votes.

“The campaign on real issues turned ineffective while factors such as national security played a key role,” said Siddharth Patel, former President of the Gujarat Congress Pradesh Committee. “In Gujarat, we found that there was an air against the government and its policies. But we failed to bring this sentiment to booths and convert it into votes for the Congress. We definitely need introspection.”

For Congress, a big setback was the loss of momentum, which it had gained during the Assembly elections in 2017, when it successfully brought the BJP under pressure.

However, in-fighting and poor booth management led to the Congress’s poor show in the 2019 polls. As a result, its tall leaders such as former Union Minister Bharatsinh Solanki and Paresh Dhanani, leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly, were trailing by vast margins from Anand and Amreli constituencies respectively.

This happened despite Congress President Rahul Gandhi camping in the State for multiple days to energise party workers. It was Rahul’s choice to mobilise youth support under OBC leader Alpesh Thakore, Patidar reservation icon Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani.

Published on May 23, 2019

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