Cong shocks Modi in Gujarat by-poll

Huge victory in Mansa bolsters Opposition

In what is termed as an electoral setback to the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, the BJP lost a crucial by-poll just eight months before the assembly elections.

The Congress won the by-election to the Mansa assembly seat, which had remained a BJP stronghold for nearly a decade and a half. The North Gujarat seat had been with the BJP since the 1995 elections and went for the by polls following the death of former assembly Speaker and a three-term MLA from the seat Mangubhai Patel.

Though the term of the victorious Congress candidate Babuji Thakore—who trounced the BJP’s D D Patel by over 8100 votes  —would be only for eight months, stakes have been high for both the parties as the by-elections had been considered as a trial run for December’s general election in the state.  Sunday’s polling in the constituency had a sizable turnout of over 75 per cent.

Out of the 1, 65,936 eligible voters, 1,25,671 cast their ballots. For the Congress, which never made any electoral inroads in the constituency for so long, the victory has been a morale booster.

Evidently, the party has been terming the victory a “turnaround”. “This is the beginning of the end of Modi rule. They had lost the Gandhinagar municipal elections recently and now the by elections. (This shows) People are fed up with this government,” said PCC President Arjun Modhvadiya.

The party is also latching on to the fact of Mansa falling under Gandhinagar, the BJP’s seat of power. 

“This is a victory for team Congress. This victory has proven that people have realised that the so-called claim of progress by the government is not true. This result will definitely have an impact on the state assembly elections,” commented Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.

“We accept the mandate of the people from Mansa. It seems that the Congress workers have lost balance just by one win and turned unruly after the victory,” said BJP state unit president R C Faldu.  

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