With BJP’s clean sweep in Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, all candidates other than those representing the main Opposition Congress failed to save their security deposits. A total of 183 candidates representing political organisations like Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Janata Dal (United), CPI(M), SUCI, and over a hundred-and-fifty Independents lost their deposits.
While a very high voters’ turnout helped the BJP candidates register the victory by a large margin over their closest rivals from Congress, a majority of the votes cast in the elections were largely divided between candidates representing the BJP and Congress, all other candidates failed to even recover Rs 25,000 (or Rs 12,500 in case of a Dalit or tribal candidates) deposited with the Election Commission (EC).
Candidates from AAP did much better than those from parties other than Congress and Independents, but none of them managed to save their deposits. Kanubhai Kalsaria, who had led agitation in Bhavnagar against the proposed Nirma plant, managed to get the highest 49,540 votes, while AAP candidate from Chhota Udepur, Arjun Rathwa, got 23,116 votes.
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AAP candidate from Gandhinagar, Riuraj Mehta, got 19,966 votes. At least five other AAP candidates managed to garner 15-20,000 votes, but none could manage to get even a sixth of the total valid votes cast which is required to save one’s deposit. They fell far behind the mandated minimum vote count.
“The AAP has been affected by the so-called Modi tsunami which is on the public mind. If Congress could not be left untouched, then a relatively new party was most likely to be affected. I have no doubt about the purity of the party which is why I will continue to stay with it, and hope it performs better in the future,” Kalsaria said.
Fate of candidates representing parties such as BSP, SP and JD(U) remained the same. Of the total 235 candidates who contested elections on 26 seats, the BSP fielded candidates on 24 seats, while the SP fielded candidates on 11 and the JD(U) on 12 seats. AAP had representatives on all of 26.
As many as 158 candidates contested as Independents, with Jamnagar LS constituency having the maximum number of 19 such candidates. Only six out of 158 candidates got more than 10,000 votes, with the highest votes of 14,524 managed by Vipul Sapara from Surendranagar.
A BSP candidate from the Panchmahals and party’s state secretary, Ramchandra Giri, who managed to secure 15,959 votes, said that the parties fielded candidates on condition that they’d fund their own campaign.
“Candidates are offered tickets but they are not given any fund from the party to contest elections.
There is no source of funding so we have to manage on our own. We seek help from friends and those willing to help,” Giri said. Fourteen candidates from the party could get votes in four digits.
Anil Bhagat, a JD(U) candidate from Bharuch and party’s state general secretary, who managed to get 49,289 votes for a third position in the list, but failed to save his deposit, said that he could have done better with more resources at hand.
“Party gives us some fund to contest elections but that is too limited to contest candidates from BJP and Congress who spend a huge amount on election,” Bhagat, whose party has strong presence in tribal areas and is a farmer, said.
The highest vote that a SP candidate got is 4,167 from Dahod. Sapara, an Independent candidate who stood third among candidates contesting from Surendranagar, but nevertheless failed to save his deposit, said that he invested around Rs 45,000 on elections, of which Rs 25,000 is the deposit money.
“It was an old desire to contest election. I have lost money but have come out with satisfaction of winning so many votes,” he said.