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In Narendra Modi's Home Turf, BJP Repeats Whitewash Over Congress as Amit Shah Makes Dazzling Debut

Despite the Congress putting up its best performance of the last three decades in the 2017 Assembly election, the election turned out to be a cakewalk for the BJP in Gujarat.

News18.com

Updated:May 23, 2019, 4:41 PM IST
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In Narendra Modi's Home Turf, BJP Repeats Whitewash Over Congress as Amit Shah Makes Dazzling Debut
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP national president Amit Shah.

New Delhi: The BJP is set to repeat its 2014 feat as it’s on its way to score a perfect 26 in the Lok Sabha elections 2019 in Gujarat, with party candidates leading with vote margins in the range of 6,600 to 1.5 lakh.

Despite the Congress putting up its best performance of the last three decades in the 2017 Assembly election, the election turned out to be a cakewalk for the BJP in the state, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf.

BJP chief Amit Shah, who made his Lok Sabha election debut from Gandhinagar constituency, is leading by a margin of over 3.5 lakh votes. This constituency was always considered a safe seat, since it was previously held by BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani.

Top Congress leaders, including former Union Minister Bharatsinh Solanki, are trailing by significant margins. After three hours of counting, the BJP secured 62 per cent vote share, while the Congress managed to get 32 per cent votes.

By highlighting issues like farm distress, water scarcity and Patidar discontent in its campaign, the Congress was expected to strike at the BJP vote-share this election, but evidently, the opposition couldn’t capitalise on these issues.

The Congress was also hoping to emerge strong in Saurashtra and the tribal belt of Gujarat, given its impressive performance in the regions during the state polls, but the voters’ desire to elect a strong and stable government at the Centre and the Modi factor trumped any local factors.

The BJP, on the other hand, had a strong voter base in urban Gujarat, especially in Ahmedabad (both east and west), Vadodara, Rajkot and Surat.

Voters in these seats have historically appreciated the developmental work that their cities have seen over the past three decades under saffron rule. In fact, local civic bodies and city municipalities are also run by the BJP.

However, outside the urban sphere, caste politics was expected to play a key role in determining voter sentiment.

But even the Hardik Patel factor, which was instrumental in weakening the BJP foothold in the state, couldn’t save the Congress from a complete wipe-out.

In the 2014 elections, which propelled Narendra Modi to power at the Centre, the BJP had won all the 26 Lok Sabha seats.

In 2009, BJP had won 15 seats, while the Congress had bagged 11. Later, during by-elections the BJP took up the tally to 17 and the grand old party was left with only nine seats.

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