Gujarat election results: PM Modi was greeted by BJP chief Amit Shah at party headquarters
New Delhi: It is 2-0 to the BJP, which has swept Himachal Pradesh and has also won Gujarat again, though by a decidedly lower margin of victory than last time. The BJP has won 99 of Gujarat's 182 assembly seats, comfortably over the halfway mark but stopping just shy of a 100. BJP chief Amit Shah has attributed the lower numbers to the "Congress' caste politics and low level of political discourse." Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the BJP's win in both states is a thumbs up for his government's reforms. Congress president Rahul Gandhi conceded defeat saying his party "accepts the verdict."
Here is your cheatsheet to the results of 2017 Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections:
The BJP's 99 seats in Gujarat are 16 less than it had won last time, while the Congress has won 80, 19 more than in 2012. The BJP has 49.1 per cent vote share (47.85 per cent in 2012) and the Congress 41.4 per cent (38.93 per cent in 2012).
The BJP has won 44 of Himachal Pradesh's 68 seats and the Congress has won 21. The BJP's chief ministerial candidate PK Dhumal, however, has lost his election. The BJP had deviated from its strategy in recent state elections by naming a presumptive chief minister. A party needs 35 seats or more to form government in Himachal.
Among seats that the BJP has ceded to the Congress in Gujarat is PM Modi's hometown Vadnagar. Gujarat is the home state of both PM Modi and Amit Shah, making a win a matter of prestigious for the BJP. The election was also seen as a pivotal moment and a contest important not only for the state but also national politics in the run-up to the 2019 national election.
The Congress has gained from Patel votes and majorly in rural areas; 17 of the 19 seats it has gained are in rural Gujarat. In an aggressive campaign, Rahul Gandhi tried to cash in on the anger of key groups against the BJP, urging farmers and traders to reject the BJP for its mega economic policies notes ban and new national tax GST, which he alleged have brought them to their knees.
Mr Gandhi had partnered with Hardik Patel, the 24-year-old face of the Patel or Patidar agitation for reservation. He also supported Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and inducted into his party backward caste (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor, both of who have won their elections.
"Dynasty, casteism and appeasement has lost to development," said Amit Shah, attacking Rahul Gandhi, who took over as Congress chief two days ago from his mother Sonia Gandhi. "Yes, I admit we got fewer seats than we hoped. Lowering the level of campaign will have some effect? And caste politics? That had its effect on the result," the BJP chief said.
Rahul Gandhi has tweeted, "My Congress brothers and sisters, you have made me very proud. You are different than those you fought because you fought anger with dignity. You have demonstrated to everyone that the Congress's greatest strength is its decency and courage."
In Gujarat, almost 2 per cent of the voters chose the "none of the above" (NOTA) option, effectively rejecting candidates across the political spectrum. That's higher than the shares of all other parties apart from the BJP or Congress.