The BJP, heading for a historic win in Gujarat, appears set to scoop up almost every seat in the Congress-dominated tribal belt. The tribal belt of Gujarat has 27 seats and the BJP is leading in all, bar one.
The Congress, which had always had its core voter group among the poor and underprivileged in the state, had dominated the tribal belt since 1950s. This is the first time the BJP is making such a wide inroad in the area. Across the state, the Grand Old Party is leading in less than 20 seats -- one of its poorest performances till date.
The tribal population in Gujarat -- 89.17 lakh - comprises 15 per cent of its total population, as per the 2011 census data. The community is largely spread across 14 eastern districts of the state.
The Congress, which conducted an extremely low-key campaign in the state this time, had been banking on its work in the area. In 2017 the party had bagged 15 of the 27 seats, while the BJP got eight.
But the gamechanger was likely to have been Mohansinh Rathava, a big tribal leader and 10-time Congress MLA from the area, who has joined the BJP. Mr Rathava is not contesting this time because of medical reasons, his son, Rajubhai Ratha, is the candidate.
The BJP also placed more focus on the tribal belt. In the run-up to the elections, the party organized one leg of its Gujarat Gaurav Yatra, in the area.
Currently, the Congress is leading from only one seat in the Navsari district.
The BJP is heading for a record victory in Gujarat, leading from more than 150 seats. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party is also likely to open account in the state and is currently leading in less than 10 seats.