Though the Congress had its best performance in the last six elections, it is the party’s performance in Saurashtra, a traditional hub of the BJP, that could be the biggest takeaway.In 2012, the Congress won just 11 seats out of 48 in Saurashtra, and the BJP 29. The Congress has increased its tally to 26, even as the BJP’s has declined to 22.The BJP had the upper hand in Rajkot, from where Chief Minister Vijay Rupani contested, as it won five out of eight seats. In Bhavnagar, from where its state president Jitu Vaghani contested, Bjp won six out of seven seats.Buoyed by the Patel reservation agitation and support for its leader Hardik Patel, the Congress made a clean sweep in several districts. The party won all three seats in Morbi, four in Gir Somnath, and five in Amreli.Analysts said that the agrarian crisis in Saurashtra, which had led to anger against the BJP, also helped the Congress in many seats.Congress leaders Paresh Dhanani, and ex-MPs Virji Thummar and Vikram Madam, were among the key winners for the Congress.BJP holds on to south GujaratIf the BJP has been able to hold on to power in the state, it is largely thanks to south Gujarat, where it managed to more or less retain its seats in spite of GST’s impact, the Patel reservation agitation and other factors.The BJP had swept south Gujarat in 2012 winning 28 out of 35 seats on offer. In this election, it won 25 of the seats, while the Congress could increase its tally from six to eight. The Chhotu Vasava-led Bhartiya Tribal Party won two seats.The Congress was banking heavily on south Gujarat, especially Surat, but it failed to make inroads. In Surat city, the Congress failed to win a single seat out of 12, while in Surat Rural, the party won only one seat out of four.The Congress had high hopes from the five Patidar-dominated seats in Surat, but it could not breach the BJP’s fortress. The ruling party had dropped four of MLAs in the five Patidar-dominated seats to minimise the impact of the Patidar anger, and the strategy worked well.Minister Ganpat Vasava won for the fourth straight time from Mangrol (ST) seat, while former minister Chhatrasinh Mori of BJP lost from Jambusar seat.Tushar Chaudhary and former MLA Dhiru Gajera were among the other prominent losers from the Congress.Jitu Chaudhary, the Congress MLA from Kaprada (ST) seat, defeated BJP candidate Madhu Raut with a margin of just 170 votes.The BJP won three seats out of four in Navsari, and four out of five in Valsad. The Congress won both tribal seats in Tapi district, and also the Dangs seat.In Narmada district, the Congress won one seat and the Bhartiya Tribal Party the second one.Congress gains in KutchThe Congress seems to have gained in Kutch as it has won three seats out of six as against one in 2012. In 2012, the Congress won Abdasa, whereas this time, it has won Mandvi and Rapar along with Abdasa.BJP won Gandhindham, Bhuj and Anjar as against 2012 when it won five seats: Mandvi, Gandhindham, Bhuj, Rapar and Anjar.The Congress won Mandvi, Abdasa and Rapar with a margin of nearly 51,000, 10,000 and 15,000, respectively, whereas the BJP won Gandhidham, Bhuj and Anjar with a margin of nearly 20,000, 14,000 and 9,000, respectively.BJP’s Nimaben Acharya and Vasanbhai Ahir won for the second time.Congress loses edge in central GujaratThe BJP further strengthened its position in central Gujarat widening its gap with rival Congress. The Congress feels that aligning with agitating Patidars alienated the powerful Kshatriya community in the region. It has been a traditional supporter of the Congress. On the other hand, the Patidar agitation was not effective in the region resulting in net loss of two seats.Of the 40 seats that went to the polls in second phase, the BJP won 22 seats, while the Congress managed 16. Two seats went to independents. In 2012, BJP won 20 seats followed by 18 by the Congress, while one seat gone to the NCP and one to an independent candidate.Before 2012, central Gujarat region was a Congress stronghold. The BJP got strength after cooperative dairy leader Ramsinh Parmar defected to it during the recent Rajya Sabha polls. While Parmar lost from Thasra, the Congress gained in terms of seats.Congress retains seats in North When Congress dissidents in North Gujarat were up in arms after ticket distribution in North Gujarat, it seemed that the party would lose badly in the region. Mainly the opposition was against Thakor leader Alpesh Thakor, but surprisingly, the Congress did well in this region. On the other side, the BJP failed to save two of the ministers in Vijay Rupani’s government. This is the region where the hometowns of BJP bigwigs like PM Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and former CM Anandiben Patel are.
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