Monday, December 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


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Hindutva wins 2/3rds in Gujarat
Prashant Sood & UNI

Counting from electronic voting machines in progress in Maninagar constituency of Gujarat on Sunday. 
— PTI photo

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi smiles at BJP headquarters in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
— Reuters photo

BJP supporters celebrate victory on the streets in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, on Sunday.

— Reuters photo

Ahmedabad, December 15
Riding on a Hindutva wave, the BJP today swept back to power in Gujarat with a two-thirds majority in the 182-member Assembly in elections held against the backdrop of the February 27 Godhra train carnage, communal violence and the terrorist attack on the Akshardham temple.

The party, led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, captured 126 seats, leaving the Congress a distant second with just 51 seats, lower than the 59 it had in the dissolved House. The BJP had won 117 seats last time, the JD (U) one and Independents five.

The JD (U) won two seats today while two went to Independents. The results are expected to have an important bearing on the future course of politics in the country.

It was the second most impressive victory for any party in Gujarat after the 142 seats secured by the Congress under Mr Madhavsinh Solanki in 1980.

Though the BJP lost some seats to the Congress in Saurashtra and north and south Gujarat, it more than made up by its performance in central Gujarat. Central and north Gujarat were the worst affected by the riots and the BJP gained from polarisation. The Congress had won 31 of the 43 seats in central Gujarat in the last Assembly elections, but the BJP almost reversed the results this time. The party registered a clean sweep in several districts of the region, including Panchmahals, Vadodara and Dahod. BJP candidate Haresh Bhatt won the Godhra seat, defeating the sitting Congress MLA Rajendrasinh Patel.

Mr Modi won the Maninagar seat by over 75,000 votes. Prominent among the BJP winners were Ashok Bhat (Khadia), Vajubhai Vala (Rajkot II), Anandibhen Patel (Patan), Kodnani Mayaben Surenderbhai (Naroda) and Gordhan Zadafia (Rakhial). The party also retained the Ellisbridge seat.

BJP candidate Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah had the distinction of scoring the biggest win the Assembly elections. He defeated the Congress candidate from Sarkhej by over 1,50,000 votes.

PCC chief Shankersinh Vaghela’s son Mahendrasingh Vaghela lost the Mashru seat. However, Amarsinh Chaudhary and his son Tushar Chaudhary won their seats. Farukh Shiekh of the Congress won the Kalupur seat, one of the two minority dominated seats in Gujarat.

The Congress won seats in Kutch and Saurashtra at the cost of the BJP, where it could make development an issue. The BJP won 17 of the 19 seats in Ahmedabad.

In Godhra, where the Sabarmati Express carnage took place on February 27 and triggered off communal violence in many parts of the state, claiming more than 1,000 lives, the BJP’s Haresh Bhatt romped home by a margin of 12,545 votes against his Congress rival and sitting MLA Rajendrasinh Patel.

BJP losers included former Chief Minister and Industry Minister Suresh Mehta (Mandvi) and 11 other ministers in the Modi Cabinet — Purushottam Rupala (Amreli), Fakirbhai Vaghela (Dasada), Nitin Patel (Kadi), Kanjibhai Patel (Chikhli), Babubhai Bokhiria (Porbander), Mulubhai Bera (Bhanwad), Devanand Solanki (Maliya), Leeladhar Vaghela (Deodhar), Vadibhai Patel (Gandhinagar), Ranchhod Rabari (Vaghdod) and Rajnikant Rajwadi (Bardoli).

Former ministers in the Keshubhai Patel-led government, Mr Jaynarayan Vyas (Siddharpur) and Mr Parmanand Khattar, who fought as an Independent from Jamnagar City, also lost.

BJP President M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters that the legislature party would meet tomorrow to put its formal seal of approval on Mr Modi’s candidature for a second term as Chief Minister.

In Anjar, Neemaben Acharya (Congress) was declared elected, defeating her nearest rival Maujibhai Sorathiya (BJP) by a margin of 4,079 votes. The Congress wrested the seat from the BJP.

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