The ruling BJP was on Monday set to retain power in Gujarat but lost in, Unjha constituency, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. Congress’ Asha Patel won Unjha constituency by defeating Sitting BJP MLA Patel Narayanbhai Lalludas by a margin of over 19,500 votes in the traditional stronghold of the Patidar community. While Patel polled 81,797 votes, her BJP rival got 62,268.
Previously, in 2012, Lalludas defeated Asha Patel by nearly 25,000 votes. In what seems to be an encore of the election result five years ago, the Congress this time seemed to be riding strong on the Patidar wave. At least 40 percent of the population in Unjha is from the Patidar community and anger against the BJP is visible.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, the party’s star campaigner, had extensively campaigned in Unjha during his Navsarjan Yatra. On his visit to the region, Gandhi also prayed at the Umiya Mata temple, close to Vadnagar — where Modi was brought up.
Weeks before the election process began in Gujarat where the BJP has been in power for the last 22 years, Modi inaugurated Umiya Dham Ashram in Haridwar for the pilgrims from the region visiting the Hindu holy city on the bank of the Ganges.
Comparing the election results with 2012 elections, the vote share of the Congress, which joined hands with Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakore, soared from 33.45 per cent of 2014 to 41.5 per cent.
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