Ahmedabad: The BJP today looked set to retain power in Gujarat, with the party winning 46 seats and leading in 53 others in the keenly-contested polls to the 182-member Assembly. The Congress, which had 61 seats in the outgoing Assembly, looks to have improved its tally this time as it has won 44 seats and is leading in 33 seats so far.
The NCP emerged victorious on one seat while the Bhartiya Tribal Party won two seats. An independent also won, while two others were leading.
The BJP, which has been in power in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state uninterruptedly since 1998, last time had won 115 seats.
To form a government in the state, a party or a coalition needs at least 92 seats in the 182-member Assembly.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani retained the Rajkot West seat by defeating Congress’ Indranil Rajyaguru by over 54,000 votes.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was also ahead of Congress candidate Jivabhai Patel in Mehsana.
Among other prominent winners were BJP leader and Fisheries Minister Babubhai Bokhiriya, who defeated senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia in Porbandar.
BJP’s Suresh Patel held the prestigious Maninagar seat, the former constituency of Modi, by defeating Congress candidate Shweta Brahmbhatt by 75,199 votes.
In Mahuva seat of Bhavnagar, BJP’s Raghav Makwana defeated independent Kanu Kalsaria.
The BJP also won the Umbergaon seat in Valsad.
The Congress won Mahudha seat in Kheda district where its nominee Indrajitsinh Parmar defeated BJP’s Bharatsinh Parmar by 13,601 votes.
Congress’ Alpesh Thakor is leading in Radhanpur seat against Lavingji Thakor of BJP.
Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil is trailing against BJP’s Virendrasinh Jadeja from Mandvi seat.
State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani is leading over Dilipsinh Gohil of Congress in Bhavnagar West.
Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani won from Vadgam seat by over 19,000 votes while fighting as an independent with Congress’ support. He defeated BJP’s Vijay Chakravarti.
Senior Congress candidate and Leader of Opposition, Mohansinh Rathwa, defeated his closest rival from BJP, Jasubhai Rathwa, by a narrow margin of 1,093 votes.
However, another senior Congress leader Siddharth Patel lost to BJP’s candidate Shailesh Mehta in Dabhoi seat.
Bhartiya Tribal Party chief Chhotu Vasava won by a significant margin of 48,948 votes over Ravjibhai Vasava from the tribal constituency of Jhagadia. Vasava’s BTP is a Congress ally.
Besides, BJP heavyweight Dilip Sanghani lost to Congress candidate J V Kakadiya.
The elections for the 182-seat Assembly were held on 9 and 14 December, after an acrimonious campaign, which was dominated by a face-off between Prime Minister Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
In the 2012 elections, the BJP had won 115 seats while the Congress emerged victorious in 61 seats.
The BJP has won every election since 1995 in the home state of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. However, it was out of power for a couple of years due to party infighting and rebellion by Shankersinh Vaghela, who broke away and formed Rashtriya Janata Party government in 1996.
The saffron party came back to power in 1998, and has ruled uninterrupted since then.