WION New Delhi, Delhi, India
Dec 18, 2017, 07.29 AM
After a mid-morning scare, it seems the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to form a government in the state for the sixth time. The party may be slightly shaken by the fact that these elections have been more uncomfortable than it may have expected - party president Amit Shah's claim of 150 seats at the beginning of the campaign now a distant cry.
The Congress may take heart from the fact that it has made significant gains from the 61 seats it won in 2012 and run the BJP close. But Rahul Gandhi will have two more lost states to show early into his presidency of the Congress party - a sign that doesn't augur well for 2019 elections.
Most of the BJP's losses came from Saurashtra and Kutch that voted in the first phase of the Gujarat elections on December 9. Of the 63 seats in the region, the BJP was ahead in 23 and then Congress was leading in 30. These losses are significant when compared to the 2012 elections where the BJP had won as many as 35 seats from the region and the Congress had won just 16.
In fact, the resentment against the BJP seems the most in Saurashtra's agrarian belt where the party may manage to win only 9 of the 32 seats - half of what it had in 2012. The Congress looks set to improve its tally from 11 to 22 - the most significant gains it has made in any region in Gujarat.
In North Gujarat, where the BJP was supposedly the weakest and the Hardik Patel factor was supposed to hurt the party further, it seems then saffron brigade has given a good account of itself. In fact, of the 22 seats in the region, the BJP has improved on its 2012 tally of 15 and is said to win about 18 seats in the region.
The Congress did not get the consolidation of Patel-OBC-Dalit votes against the BJP it has hoped for and seems to be losing five seats here - down to 12 these elections from the 17 it has in 2012. The Congress almost outsourced its campaign to Hardik Patel - and while the 24-year-old impacted the BJP’s traditional votebank, it just wasn’t enough.
Central Gujarat's 61 seats are where the BJP has made good some of its losses in other regions. Here in 2012 the party had managed 37 seats. Perhaps the Prime Minister's strident campaign especially in the second phase of polling helped consolidate the party's position further. The BJP is set to win 46 seats in this region. The Congress party's tally has fallen to 14 from 22.
The Congress has made minor gains in South Gujarat where it had managed just 6 of the 35 seats in 2012. This time they’re in front in 13 seats. The BJP may lose five seats in this region where it had 28 seats in 2012.
Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat
The BJP seems to have held on to its urban voter base. Gujarat's three major cities - Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat account for about 36 constituencies of which then BJP is winning 31 this time around. While this is down from the 33 that the party had won in 2012, of the 70-odd urban seats in the state party will win 57 seats while the Congress gets only 16.
Leads for all 182 seats in Gujarat are in and the BJP is ahead in 106. Congress candidates are leading in 71 seats, up 10 seats from 2012. Remember these are leads at around noon - that’s four hours into the counting - and there may be slight variance in the final tally.