BJP storms back to power in Gujarat, Modi credited with historic victory

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FILE PHOTO: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to his supporters as he arrives to cast his vote during the second and last phase of Gujarat state assembly elections in Ahmedabad, India, December 5, 2022. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Gandhinagar/Shimla: BJP returned to power in Gujarat with a historic victory while Congress made a comeback in Himachal Pradesh in the results announced on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, which also marked the start of an election season that will see several assembly polls next year in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in 2024.

Supporters of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shout slogans as they celebrate after learning of the initial poll results of Gujarat state assembly election in Gandhinagar, India, December 8, 2022. REUTERS/Amit Dave

The BJP won 156 seats of 182 assembly seats in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, smashing all previous records of electoral performance. The Congress held its nerve in Himachal Pradesh and won 40 seats in the 68-member assembly.

For Aam Aadmi Party, which won the MCD elections on Wednesday, the results in Gujarat gave some satisfaction though the party’s numbers were far less than the expectations of its leaders. AAP made its maiden entry in the Gujarat assembly winning five seats and its leaders saw a lot of hope in the party getting 12.92 per cent vote share in the state where the BJP has been in power for almost 27 years. AAP leaders also declared that the party has now gained “national party” status.

FILE PHOTO: School children gesture towards India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives to cast his vote during the second and last phase of Gujarat state assembly elections in Ahmedabad, India, December 5, 2022. REUTERS/Amit Dave
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Congress recorded its worst performance in Gujarat and is poised to win only 17 seats, partly due to AAP splitting the opposition vote.

Bypolls to six seats held across five states also gave a mixed result with Congress and BJP winning two seats each and BJD and RLD on one each. Samajwadi Party candidate Dimple Yadav won the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat with a huge margin.

The BJP won the highest number of seats in Gujarat’s history and recorded its seventh straight win.

The BJP not only improved its own record of 127 seats, made in 2002 with Narendra Modi as Chief Minister but surpassed the Congress’ best tally of 149 seats in the 1985 elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was overcome with a lot of emotions seeing the phenomenal election results in Gujarat. He lauded the work of BJP workers in the party’s huge success.

“Thank you Gujarat. I am overcome with a lot of emotions seeing the phenomenal election results. People blessed politics of development and at the same time expressed a desire that they want this momentum to continue at a greater pace. I bow to Gujarat’s Jan Shakti,” PM Modi said in a tweet.

“To all hardworking @BJP4Gujarat Karyakartas I want to say – each of you is a champion! This historic win would never be possible without the exceptional hardwork of our Karyakartas, who are the real strength of our Party,” he added.

BJP got a massive 52.50 per cent votes in Gujarat with Congress vote share declining to 27.28 per cent.

The Prime Minister also thanked the people of Himachal Pradesh for their affection and support for BJP.

Supporters of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) burn firecrackers to celebrate after learning of the initial poll results of Gujarat state assembly election in Gandhinagar, India, December 8, 2022. REUTERS/Amit Dave

“I thank the people of Himachal Pradesh for the affection and support for the BJP. We will keep working to fulfil the aspirations of the state and raise people’s issues in the times to come,” he said.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur resigned following the party’s defeat in the polls.

While Congress won 40 seats in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP won 25 seats. Independents won three seats and AAP failed to open its account in the state.

In terms of vote share in Himachal, Congress is only marginally ahead of the BJP having got 43.88 per cent of votes compared to 42.99 per cent of its rival. Others garnered 10.4 per cent vote share in the hill state. Himachal Pradesh has a long tradition of alternating governments and Congress was on the right side of anti-incumbency.

The Congress, which had not projected a Chief Ministerial candidate in the hill state, is planning a meeting of its MLAs in Chandigarh with some of its leaders apprehending “poaching” attempts by BJP.

Celebrations began at the BJP office in Ahmedabad soon after it was clear that the party was on course to an overwhelming victory in the state. Congress workers also celebrated the party’s performance in Himachal Pradesh.

Home Minister Amit Shah lauded the party workers in Gujarat saying they had worked tirelessly for the party’s success.

“I salute the people of Gujarat on this historic victory. Congratulations to the Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, state party president CR Paatil and all the workers of BJP who worked tirelessly for achieving this grand victory achieved under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chairmanship of JP Nadda,” he said in a tweet.
Amit Shah said Gujarat has always created history.

“In the last two decades, under the leadership of Modi ji, the BJP broke all the records of development in Gujarat and today the people of Gujarat have blessed the BJP and broken all the records of victory. This is a victory of the unwavering faith of the public in the development model of PM Modi,” he said.

Shah also took a veiled dig at the Opposition and said that the people have rejected those who resorted to appeasement politics and offered ‘revdis’ to people.

“Gujarat has rejected those who make empty promises, distribute revdies and do appeasement politics, and has given a mandate to PM Modi’s BJP which has ensured the development and public welfare. This massive victory has shown that every section, be it women, youth or farmers, all are wholeheartedly with BJP,” he said.

Referring to Himachal Pradesh, Shah said that BJP served the people of the state for five years with all sincerity.

He expressed gratitude for the affections and support of the people of the state. “BJP will keep working continuously with dedication for the welfare of people of Devbhumi,” he said.

BJP president JP Nadda congratulated Bhupendra Patel, party’s Gujarat chief CR Paatil and all the workers of state BJP for the party’s landslide victory in the state.

Bhupendra Patel said the people of Gujarat have made up their minds to further continue with the journey of development in Gujarat.

“We humbly accept the mandate of the people. Every worker of BJP is committed to public service,” he said.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who resigned on Thursday following the results, said he respected the people’s mandate of Himachal Pradesh.

“I want to thank Prime Minister and central leadership (for their support) during last five years. We’ll stand for the development of the state irrespective of politics. We’ll analyse our shortcomings and improve during the next term,” Thakur told media persons in Shimla.
Congress in charge of Himachal Pradesh Rajiv Shukla said the party will implement 10 guarantees in the state.

(Updated on Dec. 12, 2022 with new election numbers)

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