The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared set to sweep the Gujarat assembly elections and win highest seats ever in the state as early trends showed it was is leading in over 145 constituencies followed by Congress as a distant second on 26. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was leading on six seats.
In 2002, the BJP won the highest tally of 127 seats when Narendra Modi was the chief minister. The highest ever seats any party has won was 149 under the leadership of Congress chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki in 1985.
The BJP seems set to retain power in Gujarat for seventh straight and equal the record of the Left government in West Bengal that remained ruled for seven terms.
In Saurashtra-Kutch region, the BJP was leading on 42 out of 54 seats. In 2017, the party won 23 seats from this region. In South Gujarat, BJP was leading on 55 out of 65 seats.
Chief minister Bhupendra Patel was leading with over 14,000 votes against his closest rival Amee Yagnik of the Congress from Ghatlodia. Harsh Sanghavi, the home minister in the outgoing Cabinet, was leading with 8,000 votes from Majura as per trends around 9.30 pm.
AAP’s chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi was leading with 3,000 votes over Congress’s Vikram Madam. Gopal Italia, the AAP’s Gujarat chief , was leading from Katargam.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sought to make inroads into Gujarat, making the 2022 polls the first three-cornered contest in at least 30 years there. Opinion polls showed AAP was likely split in the opposition vote of the Congress, the traditional opposition to the BJP in Gujarat. AAP was expected to benefit the BJP, which got its lowest winning tally of 99 seats in 2017.
The Gujarat polls are crucial to AAP’s national relevance and the BJP’s ability to battle anti-incumbency and assert itself as the national hegemon. They seem to reinforce Congress’s continuing struggle for relevance.
Exit polls have predicted AAP may get enough votes to help it become a national party. The AAP’s victory in the Delhi civic polls on Wednesday was a major shot in the arm for AAP despite the Bharatiya BJP’s aggressive campaigning.
The AAP has sought to expand its influence nationally since it returned to power in Delhi by winning 62 seats in the 70-member assembly in 2020. It became the first regional party to have governments in two states when it swept to power in Punjab this year.
BJP’s Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor were leading from Viramgam and Gandhinagar South constituencies. Congress’s Jignesh Mevani was trailing from Vadgam..