NEW DELHI: The final results of the Gujarat Assembly polls, which were being as a prestige battle between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and newly-appointed Congress president Rahul Gandhi, will be announced in just a few more hours. Modi’s home state that went to polls on 9 and 14 December, was largely considered a BJP bastion, with the ruling party grabbing 120 seats in 2012. The Congress had won 43 seats.
The elections for 182 Assembly constituencies saw some closely fought contests, the outcome of which would be interesting to track. The Jaihind Express collated a list of constituencies that grabbed attention either for the riveting contest fought on them, or were merely important for either of the two parties in the ego tussle, which was synonymous with the Gujarat polls.
Viramgam: The contest here will be watched closely plainly because it is the home constituency of the other two young leaders, who have been making headlines. Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor (who recently joined Congress), both are registered voters in Viramgam constituency.
Tejashriben Patel had won from Viramgam in 2012 as the Congress candidate. She later switched side and is now the BJP candidate from the same constituency. She is pitted against Congress’ Lakhabhai Bharwad.
The code of conduct prohibits parties and candidates from canvassing within 100 metres of polling stations.
BJP has fielded its sitting MP Arvindkumar Patel while, Jitubhai Patel is contesting on a Congress ticket.
Naranpura: This was the former constituency of BJP president Amit Shah, who is largely seen as the architect of party’s election strategy. In 2012, he won from this constituency with over one lakh votes. However, as Shah moved on to Rajya Sabha, the party has this time fielded Kaushikbhai Patel, a Patidar leader who is considered close to Shah, to contest against Congress’s Nitin Patel. If the BJP fails to retain the seat, it would be seen as a major embarrassment for the party. The constituency has roughly having around 40,000 Patidar voters. Though Patidars were known to be committed supporters of the saffron party since last two decades, the equations seem to have changed after the quota agitation and Hardik Patel’s appeal to his community to “uproot BJP” this time.
Dariyapur: The Muslim-dominated Dariyapur seat is currently held by Congress MLA Gyasuddin Shaikh, who also enjoys support of some Hindu voters for having an image of being a “progressive” leader. Out of the total 1.97 voters in this mix population seat, there are around 85,000 Muslims.
In 2012, Shaikh defeated BJP candidate Bharat Barod by a thin margin of just over 2,600 votes. This time too, the old rivals are pitted against each other.
Maninagar: This seat is important for the BJP as it has remained the party’s bastion since 1990 and was also the constituency of Narendra Modi before he became the prime minister. The constituency also houses the state headquarters of RSS. Modi has won thrice from Maninagar, as chief minister, in the year 2002, 2007 and 2012. Modi had vacated the constituency after becoming the prime minister in 2014.
Ghatlodia: Another high-profile seat in Ahmedabad, Ghatlodia was once represented by former chief minister Anandiben Patel. She had quit last year after the quota agitation, which had also gripped Ghatlodia where there were violent protests and arson by the Patidars.
Respecting her “wish” of not wanting to contest the polls this time, the ruling party has given ticket to another senior party leader Bhupendra Patel. Congress has fielded Patel Shashikant Vasudevbhai from the seat.