BJP improves Gujarat tally, key Congress candidates lose

via IANS published on May 16, 2009

GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to improve its Lok Sabha tally from the state Saturday as key Congress
candidates including two central ministers were defeated.

The BJP won 15 seats and the Congress 10 out the 26 seats in the state while counting in Kheda was temporarily stopped in the afternoon after a technical snag. In the 2004 elections, the ruling party had won 14 seats to the Congress’ 12.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who emerged as a key campaigner for the BJP, was given a free hand in selecting candidates and the ticket was given to a number of Congress rebels.

Modi’s handpicked candidates, however, failed to sweep the polls though he had ensured a clean sweep for the party in the 2002 and 2007 assembly elections.

The BJP’s prime ministerial aspirant L.K. Advani won the Gandhinagar seat for the fifth consecutive time, defeating Suresh Patel of the Congress, though with a reduced margin of 121,747 votes.

The high-profile constituency had witnessed a battle among Advani, Patel, a sitting legislator from Kalol, and noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai.

In Ahmedabad East, Harin Pathak of the BJP won again, with a margin of 86,056 votes.

The BJP also won Kachchh, Mahesana, Sabarkantha, Ahmedabad West, Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, Surat and Navsari.

The biggest loss for the Congress was the defeat of central minister Shankarsinh Vaghela who lost the Panchmahals seat to BJP’s Prabhatsinh Chauhan by a margin of 2,081 votes. Minister of State for Railways Naranbhai Rathwa lost to Ramsingbhai Rathwa of the BJP in Chhota Udepur by a margin of 26,998.

The third central minister, Dinsha Patel, was locked in a close contest with Devusinh Chauhan of the BJP in Kheda, but the counting remains halted after a snag.

Senior Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry lost from Sabarkantha to Mahendrasinh Chauhan of the BJP by 17,160 votes.

Congress candidate Satyajit Gaekwad of the former royal family of Vadodara lost the Vadodara seat to Balakrishna Shukla of BJP by over 100,000 votes.

The Congress winners include Bharatsinh Solanki (Anand), Vitthalbhai Radadiya (Porbandar), Somabhai Gandlal Patel (Surendranagar), Vikram Ahir (Jamnagar), Prabha Taviad (Dahod) and Tushar Chaudhari (Bardoli).

None of the independent candidates or those of the MahaGujarat Janata Party (MJP) – formed by a splinter group of BJP rebels – won.

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