Hardik Patel has definitely helped Congress make some gains in Saurashtra and Mehsana; in North Gujarat, Congress wins 15 out of 27 seats while BJP bags 11 seats.
New Delhi: The troika of Alpesh Thakor, Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel provided the much-needed ammo to the Congress’ battle in Gujarat.
Dalits constitute 7 per cent of Gujarat’s electorate and are dispersed across the state, so more than Mevani, a Dalit leader, it was the Thakor-Patel duo who seem to have helped swing votes in favour of the Congress.
The Patidar community constitutes about 14-16 per cent of the voters in Gujarat, hence their vote becomes essential.
Mevani’s entry, however, has not made a big difference in Dalit constituencies. Una, the place where the Dalit flogging incident took place, was retained by the Congress while Wadhwan in Surendranagar went to BJP again. Three Dalit youths were killed in police firing in Thangadh town in Surendranagar in 2012.
Despite Hardik Patel’s incessant appeals to his supporters to not vote for the BJP, it seems that the BJP has managed to contain the domino effect. Across Kamrej, Katargam, Varachha Road and Karanj seats where low voter turnouts have been reported, the BJP has retained all its seats. It has also retained Surat North, Surat East and Surat West constituencies.
In Saurashtra, the Congress has made a significant impact retaining Amreli by a margin of over 10,000 votes and Jamnagar Rural by 7,000 votes. These areas have been the hotbed of the Patidar agitation. It has also won the Junagadh with a comfortable margin of 6,000 votes. The Congress wrested Morbi from the BJP as well.
Indranil Rajyaguru’s bid to unseat chief minister Vijay Rupani in Rajkot West came a cropper as the latter won by a margin of 25,000 seats. BJP swept Rajkot (West, East, South and Rural).
In Mehsana, the epicentre of the Patidar rebellion, Congress candidate Dr Asha Patel wrested Unjha from BJP, including PM Modi’s hometown Vadnagar. There was a close fight in all the constituencies in Mehsana district with the Congress also seizing Becharji from BJP.
Hardik Patel has definitely helped Congress make some gains in Saurashtra and Mehsana. The Patel factor has made a significant dent in BJP’s vote share.
In North Gujarat, Congress has won 15 out of 27 seats across four districts and BJP won 11 seats.
Thakor fought and won from Radhanpur in the Patan district. His entry into the Congress has not helped the party in a big way though. Here, the Congress and BJP won three seats each.