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BJP ends up with 126 seats; Congress 51
December 15, 2002 21:01 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday swept back to power in Gujarat with a massive two-thirds majority, according to the Press Trust of India.
The party won 126 seats in the 182-member assembly, bettering its tally of 117 in the 1998 election, it said.
However, the Election Commission was yet to confirm the result.
The Congress, which had 57 members in the dissolved house, fared worse than predicted, getting 51. Of the remaining four, Independents and the Janata Dal-United won two each.
This is the BJP's first major victory after a string of defeats in the last two years.
The newly elected BJP legislators will meet on Monday and elect their leader, who in all probability would be the 52-year-old Modi.
The swearing in is likely to take place a couple of days later.
Modi and a number of his Cabinet colleagues romped home comfortably, but the party got a shock when former chief minister and Industries Minister Suresh Mehta lost Mandvi seat in Kutch.
In Maninagar, Ahmedabad, the caretaker CM beat Congressman Yatin Oza by a margin of over 75,000 votes.
Other party leaders who won were Ashok Bhatt [Khadia], Vajubhai Vala [Rajkot-II], Anandiben Patel [Patan] and Gordhan Zadafiya [Rakhial].
In Godhra, where the train carnage changed the course of state politics, BJP candidate and Bajrang Dal leader Haresh Bhatt defeated sitting Congress MLA Rajendrasinh Patel.
The BJP made a clean sweep in the tribal-dominated eastern belt of Gujarat, winning all the 12 seats in the region, including Godhra.
Again in Vadodara, one of the worst hit by the communal violence, the party won all the 13 seats.
The Congress lost a prestigious seat when its candidate Mahendrasinh Vaghela, son of PCC president Shankersinh Vaghela, was defeated in Mashru constituency. Prominent among the Congress winners were Amarsinh Chaudhary from the tribal seat of Khedbrahma and Faroukh Sheikh in riot-hit Kalupur in Ahmedabad city.
In the BJP stronghold of Saurashtra, where it won 52 of the 58 seats last time, the party yielded several seats to the Congress.
Similar was the position in Kutch region, which was devastated by an earthquake two years ago and where questions over governance figured prominently during the campaign.
The BJP did well in central Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, where it secured good victories in Naroda, and Maninagar.
Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and Modi described the verdict as a defeat of forces that "spread slander and venom" against the people, administration and police of Gujarat.
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