Gujarat: Modi romps home for third term
With his eyes set on the 2014 general elections as a prime ministerial candidate of the BJP, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Thursday bolstered his resume for the race by registering a thumping win in the western state that he would now rule for the third consecutive term.
Living up to all expectations and beating all hurdles, Narendra Modi won a sweeping victory in Gujarat with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagging 116 of the 182 seats while Congress followed as a distant second with 60 seats, a performance poorer than its last show in 2007 though it increased the tally by one seat.
The Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) of Keshubhai Patel, which is seen as a spoiler by the BJP after the latter broke ranks with the saffron party and formed his own outfit, got only two seats.
Interestingly, Patel and Modi fed each other sweets after the win of Modi, stunning all and sending hint of a reunion if their smiles were any indications.
The mandate in favour of the charismatic Modi made him a strong contender in BJP to be pitched as their future Prime Minister if the party captured power in New Delhi.
"No need of looking behind, FORWARD! We want infinite energy, infinite courage, infinite patience," tweeted Modi as results started pouring in, in his favour.
"The victory is of six crore people of Gujarat" screamed the official website of Narendra Modi. He is addressing a large gathering in his constituency in Ahmedabad on Thursday evening.
After clinching a victory, Narendra Modi met his mother Hira Ba to seek her blessings.
Before meeting his mother, Modi tweeted: "Going to meet my Mother to seek her blessings on this memorable day."
BJP called it an emphatic win for Modi and his government's performance.
"Margin of victory indicates it is an emphatic win," said BJP central leader Arun Jaitley speaking to media.
"The win is all the most significant because we had a major spoiler there (he did not name Keshubhai Patel)," said Jaitley.
He said most of the senior leaders of Congress lost.
BJP patriarch L K Advani also congratulated Narendra Modi.
Congress, however, reacted interestingly to the massive win of Modi.
"BJP has been contained below 117. If the BJP does not cross 117 then Congress has improved its tally. Congress is a clear winner in Gujarat too," said Congress leader and Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
External Affairs Minister and Congress leader Salman Khurshid said: "We have lost Gujarat but won Himachal, but it wasn't an easy win for Modi. It was close fight. We are in the right direction; we will have go back to drawing board. One election doesn't make him PM candidate," Khurshid told a TV channel.
Congress leader and union minister Manish Tewari claimed that in constituencies where Rahul Gandhi had campaigned the party has won.
Gujarat went to two phased polls on Dec 13 and 17.
Narendra Modi himself won from the Maninagar seat beating his Congress challenger Shwetha Bhatt, wife of the anti-Modi IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
Amit Shah, a Modi confidant and former state home minister who was under scrutiny in a fake encounter killing case and is under judicial bail, also won the polls from Naranpura.
This election also saw a high turnout of voters.
In the second phase polls on Dec 17 in Gujarat, nearly 70 percent voters exercised their franchise. In the first phase the turnout was 71 percent on Dec 13.
Modi had campaigned aggressively for the elections, seeking the approval of voters once again on the plant of development while Congress poster boy Rahul Gandhi and party chief Sonia Gandhi had also carried out extensive campaigning.