The BJP continued its winning streak in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, winning the state for a sixth straight term by a simple majority and denying Rahul Gandhi his big comeback, days after being crowned as Congress president. The saffron surge also decimated debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had drowned the BJP in Delhi only two years ago.
Of the 30-odd seats that Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP contested in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly election, the party ended up playing an (unwilling) foil in two. In nearly all the remaining seats, the AAP candidates lost their deposits, with some of them even polling votes in two digits.
The three seats where the AAP made its presence somewhat felt are Chhota Udepur, Wankaner, and Bapunagar. In Chhota Udepur, AAP’s Arjunbhai Versingbhai Rathva polled nearly 4500 votes, which was the best performance by any AAP leader in Gujarat, where electoral politics is largely marked by a bipolar contest between the BJP and the Congress.
Moreover, Rathva’s 4500 votes gain significance when one looks at the margin of victory in the Chhota Udepur constituency: the winning Congress candidate, Mohansinh Chhotubhai Rathava, defeated his rival from the BJP, Jashubhai Bhilubhai Rathwa, by merely 1000 votes.
Similarly, in Wankaner, the AAP’s Sherasiya Usmangani Hushen polled close to 3000 votes. The margin of victory in that constituency, again won by the Congress, is less than 3000.
In the high-profile Unjha Assembly constituency dominated by the Patidars, the AAP’s Ramesh Patel ended up at the eighth spot and could manage less than 400 votes. The Congress’s Dr Asha Patel won the seat by polling 80927 votes.
Reports said that though the AAP had decided to contest nearly 30 seats in Gujarat, it had decided to focus on 10 seats where the party was hoping for a victory following an internal survey. Those ten seats, apart from are Unjha and Chhota Udepur are Palanpur, Rajkot (East), Gondal, Lathi, Kamrej, Karanj, Pardi, and Dhrangadhra.
Let’s have a quick look at those seats:
Palanpur: Nabhani Rameshkumar Khemrajbhai (452 votes)
Rajkot (East): Ajit Ghusabhai Lokhil (1927 votes)
Gondal: Khunt Nimishaben Dhirajlal (2179 votes)
Lathi: MD (Bhanubhai) Manjariya (797 votes)
Kamrej: Ram Dhaduk (1454 votes)
Karanj: Mehta Jignesh Dhirajlal (325 votes)
Pardi: Dr Rajiv Shambhunath Pandey (539 votes)
Dhrangadhra: Dadhaniya Kamlesh Muljibhai (505 votes)