Ahmedabad/Shimla: The BJP inched towards a record sixth straight victory in Gujarat assembly polls, and was set to evict the Congress in Himachal Pradesh, tightening the party’s grip over the country’s politics with general elections only 18 months away.
The Gujarat results proved to be a seesaw, with BJP and Congress running neck and neck in the morning trends. At midday, BJP pulled ahead, but by 5 p.m. it apeared that although the party will emerge victorious it will be with a slim majority.
“I assure (people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh) that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.
According to Election Commission tally at 5 p.m., the BJP had won 70 seats and was leading in 29 for a possible total of 99 in the 182-member Gujarat assembly.
At the start of the campaign, the BJP had said it was aiming for 150 seats. In the outgoing assembly it had 115 seats.
The Congress won 62 and was leading in 15 for a possible total of 77, compared to 61 previously.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi virtually conceded defeat, saying the party “accepts the verdict of the people and congratulates the new governments in both states.”
He thanked his party members for fighting “anger with dignity.”
The BJP called the results a vote for development pushed by Modi, who was the tireless star campaigner in both states.
The Congress took solace in the fact that it bettered its tally in Gujarat, the home turf of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
Shah expressed satisfaction with the result, saying that the party’s vote share in Gujarat had gone up to 49.10 per cent from 47.85 per cent in 2012. The Congress vote share was 41.5 per cent in Gujarat, compared to 38.93 per cent in 2012 was 38.93 per cent. PTI