NEW DELHI: The BJP on Monday retained Gujarat and wrested Himachal Pradesh from Congress, taking the total number of states where it is in power to 19. The party has Chief Ministers in 14 of these 19 states.
Congress, on the other hand, is now in power in only four states and one union territory.
The victories in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat has taken the total states where BJP has formed governments on its own or with allies after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in 2014 to 13.
The states with BJP Chief Ministers are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Goa, Manipur, Assam, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Gujarat. The party will now have a Chief Minister in Himachal Pradesh.
The BJP is in power with allies in Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland.
The Congress is in power in Punjab, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Mizoram and union territory of Puducherry.
Adding to its victory cheer, the BJP’s top state leadership in Gujarat won their seats, while the Congress saw many of its top state leaders bite the dust.
BJP’s Chief Minister Vijay Rupani retained his Rajkot (West) seat against Congress’ Indranil Rajyaguru — the richest candidate in the fray — by a little over 21,000 votes. Rupani got 52,155 votes, while Rajyaguru got 29,938 votes. Current Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala won from this seat seven times earlier.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel trounced his Congress rival Jivabhai Patel by 12,784 votes in his home turf Mehsana, which is the home town of Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel. Nitin Patel was expected to face a stiff challenge here. He secured 68,785 votes in comparison to his Congress rival who got 56,311 votes.
State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani retained his Bhavnagar (West) seat against Congress rival Dilipsinh Gohel. Vaghani polled 75,883 votes, compared to 51,017 by his rival.
Revenue and Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama won by just 300 votes in Dholka, while Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja trounced his Congress rival Bipin Patel by 62,380 votes. Jadeja polled 1,31,133 votes.
Former Energy Minister in Anandiben Patel’s government Saurabh Patel won from Botad constituency by 1,221 votes. Saurabh Patel had changed his seat from Akota in Vadodara to his former constituency Botad.
However, there were losers too in the ruling party. Health Minister, cooperative leader and Chief Ministerial aspirant Shankar Chaudhari lost from Vav constituency to his Congress rival Geniben Thakor by about 6,800 votes.
Assembly Speaker Ramanlal Vora, who moved from Idar to Dasada (SC) seat, lost to his Congress rival Naushadhji Solanki by a margin of 844 votes. While Vora polled 57,818 votes, his rival got 58,488 votes. Here NOTA played a crucial role, with 3,057 opting for no candidates.
Senior leader, Jaynarayan Vyas lost from Sidhpur to Congress’ Chandanji Thakor by 17,200 votes. Vyas got the seat after Balwantsinh Rajput of Congress moved to BJP. Rajput had defeated Vyas in 2012.
Dilip Sanghani, a close confidante of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, failed to again make it, losing to J.V. Kakadiya of Congress by over 15,000 votes.
Patel strongman Narayan Lallu Patel, a 77-year-old veteran, lost in Unjha to his Congress competitor Ashaben Patel by 19,000 votes. Former Home Minister Rajni Patel, whose office was burnt in Viramgam during the Patel quota stir, lost to Bharat Thakor by over 19,000 votes.
Needing 35 seats to control the 68-member House, the Bharatiya Janata Party was on course to win 44 the Congress had bagged 11 seats and led in 10 others. An Independent and the CPI-M got one seat each.
The Congress accepted defeat in Himachal Pradesh, which went to the polls on November 9. Among its prominent winners were outgoing Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh (Arki) and his son Vikramaditya Singh (Shimla Rural), who entered the Assembly for the first time.
State BJP chief Satpal Satti was humiliated in Una by Satpal Singh Razda of Congress while the BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal lost in Sujanpur.
Dhumal’s confidants Ravinder Ravi, Gulab Singh and Randhir Sharma, all outgoing legislators, also lost.
Congress cabinet ministers Sudhir Sharma, Thakur Singh and Prakash Chaudhary faced defeat.
Chaudhary lost in Balh in Mandi district to BJP’s Inder Singh Gandhi. BJP’s Ravindra Dhiman defeated Congress’ outgoing legislator Yadvinder Goma in Jaisinghpur and Kishori Lal of the BJP overcame Bansi Lal of the Congress from Anni.
BJP’s Suresh Bhardwaj retained his Shimla seat, defeating Harbhajan Bhajji of the Congress.