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Keshubhai fails to take on bete noire Modi

December 20, 2012 22:29 IST

Gujarat assembly poll results have shown that former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, who formed his own party just before the elections with the aim of dislodging his bete noire Narendra Modi, has failed to inspire voters in his own Saurashtra region, which more or less tilted towards the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Gujarat Parivartan Party fielded 163 candidates, but only Keshubhai Patel from Visavadar in Junagad and Nalin Kotadia from Dhari in Amreli managed to win.
   
Even Gordhan Zadafia, who was minister of state for home in the BJP government in 2002, lost from Gondal constituency by 19,766 votes to BJP candidate Jayrajsinh Jadeja.

During months of sustained campaigning, Keshubhai and his party leaders expressed confidence about winning many seats in Gujarat. They had even claimed that they would be the deciding force in forming the next government in the state.

Even political pundits were predicting a large scale dent in BJP's prospects in the Saurashtra belt, where Keshubhai's Leuva Patel community holds sway, but it was virtually a no-show for the fledgling party.

As far as the seat count is concerned, compared to the 2007 assembly elections, voters of Saurashtra did not pay heed to the appeals of Keshubhai, who led a vitriolic campaign to defeat Modi.

In 2007, before the implementation of de-limitation of the constituencies in the state, out of 52 seats in seven districts of Saurashtra, BJP had won 39 seats, while the Congress had won 12 and the Nationalist Congress Party had secured one seat.

This time, out of 48 seats, spread across seven districts of Saurashtra, BJP has won 32, Congress has garnered 13, GPP got two and NCP has won one seat.

In Surat, where the GPP was expected to perform well because of the many small businesses and diamond traders who had their roots in Saurashtra, the party has failed miserably with all its candidates losing the mandate.

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