The Bharatiya Janata Party’s top leadership has begun deliberations to pick chief ministers for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, a day after it won both states by a clear majority.
While Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and party general secretary Saroj Pandey will be in Gujarat as observers for the selection, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Rural Minister Narendra Tomar are observers for Himachal Pradesh.
The saffron party made a clean sweep in Himachal Pradesh by winning 44 of 68 seats. Congress, meanwhile, managed to secure 21 seats in the House. In Gujarat, which is PM Modi’s home turf, the BJP won 99 seats, while the Congress led by Rahul Gandhi bagged 80 seats (including ally Bharatiya Tribal Party’s two and Jignesh Mevani’s seat).
Both Modi and BJP president Amit Shah called the results a victory of their government’s “development” agenda. Addressing jubilant party workers at the BJP headquarters Monday evening, Modi raised the slogan of “Jeetega bhai jeetega, Vikas hi jeetega”.
Assembly election results 2017 LIVE updates
5.15 pm: Congress leader Anand Sharma said newly-elected party chief campaigned with dignity and humbly accepted defeat after the results.
3.15 pm: In a strong retort, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge targeted the ruling BJP government over ‘Pakistan interference’ allegations. “If Dr.Manmohan Singh was conspiring with Pakistan in a meeting in Delhi then was the Govt sleeping? Why have they not registered an FIR in the case till now?. It was just a lie for the election campaign,” Kharge was quoted as saying by ANI.
3.05 pm: Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s remark that PM Narendra Modi is battling a credibility problem, Union Minister Ananth Kumar said, “Credibility of Congress and Rahul Gandhi is at an all-time low, while PM Modi’s credibility is at an all-time high not just in India but globally.”
3.00 pm: Javadekar also said people gave a resounding reply to the use of the word “neech” for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
2.55 pm: Taking a dig at Congress, Javadekar said the grand old party may not have realised that it has lost. “May be it has not registered for Congress that they have lost; that is why they are saying BJP that has won, got a jolt,” he said.
2.33 pm: Hinting at the Congress’ Gujarat campaign ‘Vikaas gandho thayo che’ (development has gone mad), HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said, “How will people who call Vikaas mad, understand the Vikaas model of development? Dejected and saddened by the results, they are saying anything.”
1.36 pm: Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Tuesday indicated that the controversial statements of Mani Shankar Aiyar and Kapil Sibal might have resulted in Congress losing the elections. Claiming that Gandhi has emerged as an “alternative to PM Narendra Modi” for the 2019 general elections, Molly said, “…our people like Mani Shankar Aiyar should not have raised those issues against him (PM).”
He also termed as “unnecessary” Sibal’s statement asking the Supreme Court to defer hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi case till after the 2019 general elections. “He (Sibal) should not have made such statements. He was not authorised to make such statements on behalf of the party,” Moily said.
“Sometimes whatever is done by Rahul Gandhi…our leadership, is undone by such statements,” he added.
1.13 pm: Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav also said, “BJP made a narrow escape, if a little more anger would have transformed into votes, the results could have been different.”
1.12 pm: On Monday, Rahul Gandhi, took a dig at the BJP while thanking the Congress workers for their support during the election campaign. “My Congress brothers and sisters, you have made me very proud. You are different than those you fought because you fought anger with dignity. You have demonstrated to everyone that the Congress’s greatest strength is its decency and courage.”
1.08 pm: “I got to know that people in Gujarat do not approve of Modi Ji’s model, the marketing & propaganda is very good but it is hollow from the inside, they could not answer our campaign,” Gandhi added.
Modiji has a credibility problem: CP Rahul Gandhi pic.twitter.com/S5KnNqM7gA
— Congress (@INCIndia) December 19, 2017
12.56 pm: Referring to his Navsarjan Yatra in Gujarat, Rahul said, “Three to four months back when we went to Gujarat it was said that Congress cannot fight BJP, we did hard work for three to four months and you have seen the results. BJP has suffered a massive jolt. Congress has scored a moral victory in Gujarat. It is a good result, could have won.”
12.53 pm: Reacting to the Gujarat verdict, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said, “Gujarat has given a message to the BJP and PM Modi that with anger within, you cannot work. Love will always win over. Questions have been raised over PM Modi’s credibility. People of Gujarat have given me a lot of love. They have taught me that no matter how much anger, money you use in fights, love will always overpower it.”
12.31 pm: TMC leadership however dismissed the rumours calling them baseless and illogical. “The Gujarat poll results will not have any impact on Bengal politics. If you analyse the Gujarat results, you will see that the BJP’s Gujarat model of development has fallen flat as it faced a drubbing in rural areas,” TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy told PTI.
12.28 pm: The BJP’s victory is said to have unsettled political equations in West Bengal. “The results would have a major impact in Bengal politics. It will kickstart a churn in state politics in days to come where BJP will be in an advantageous position,” BJP leader Mukul Roy said, according to PTI. The report also suggests that several TMC leaders are likely to make a switch to the saffron party.
BJP workers also took out a rally in Sabang in Bengal to celebrate the success in the elections. “Our next target is Bengal. And this victory for sure will galvanise the cadres at the grassroots level ahead of the Panchayat polls. We are confident that the people of Bengal want freedom from the misrule of this corrupt TMC government,” state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.
12.06 pm: Congress leader Ashok Gehlot called the Gujarat election results “moral victory” for Congress. “The way we fought in Modi’s home (turf), the love and affection that Rahul Gandhi got…the reverse countdown for Modi has begun. In Himachal Pradesh, their (BJP’s) chief ministerial candidate has lost. We fought the elections on the basis of issues. The questions asked (by Congress) were not answered — be it on the economy, job losses, Rafale deal, or the hasty implementation of GST,” he said.
11.50 am: Taking a jibe at the Congress, BJP leader Kiren Rijiju said, “What a suitable lesson to those who played dirty caste politics! Congress outsourced itself to those elements but at what cost? From day one, I had this strong intuition that Jignesh, Hardik & Alpesh were proxies of Congress. Good for India that caste politics is defeated.”
What a suitable lesson to those who played dirty caste politics! Congress outsourced itself to those elements but at what cost?
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) December 19, 2017
11.40 am: In an opinion column in The Indian Express today, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes, “Modi’s triumph and his gifts as a politician cannot be denied. But equally, it cannot be denied that Indian democracy is poised at a moment fraught with danger. Democracy, by its very nature, is more secure with the right fragmentation of power and an effective opposition.” Read the entire column titled, ‘The Road from Gujarat.’
11.25 am: Gujarat election was indeed a close fight. In at least 15 seats, the BJP managed to beat the Congress by a margin of less than 3,000 votes, The seat with the narrowest margin was Godhra, where BJP candidate C K Raulji beat Congress’ Rajendrasinh Balvantsinh by a mere 258 votes!
11.14 am: Meanwhile, Vijay Rupani who is speculated to be the BJP’s face for Gujarat registered a rousing victory from Rajkot West, defeating his Congress rival Indranil Rajguru by over 30,000 votes. When asked about the reduced number of seats in the state, Rupani said, “Yes, we had a target of 150 and we worked in that direction…. In many seats we lost by less than 1,000 votes — by (even) a margin of 200, 300, 500 votes. If 2-3 per cent (votes) would have swung, the results would have been different. After 22 years, getting 100 seats and a mandate for 27 years is a big victory for BJP.”
11.10 am: “In Himachal Pradesh one party unseats the other every five years, its is nothing new. Not taking names but if some people wouldn’t have said certain wrong things Congress would have won in Gujarat, they managed a good show there,” former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah was quoted as saying by ANI. Read more here
10.55 am: In Himachal Pradesh, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal lost in Sujanpur to friend turned foe and Congress’ leader Rajinder Singh Rana by a margin of 3,500 votes. In an interview to The Indian Express, Dhumal said, “Personal loss does not have much importance, the main gain is the victory of the state BJP and at the national level.” When asked if he is still in the race for being the CM, Dhummal said, “The winning BJP candidate from Kutlehar has offered to vacate his seat for you. I want to thank him, and do not want to comment further.”
People of Gujarat have spoken in a clear voice- they stand for development. pic.twitter.com/jage57K7Yj
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 19, 2017
10.40 am: West Bengal Chief Minister meanwhile called the Gujarat results as a “moral victory for BJP.” Taking to Twitter, she said, “I congratulate Gujarat voters for their very balanced verdict at this hour. It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people. Gujarat belled the cat for 2019.”
10.30 am: Buoyed by the BJP’s electoral success in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Sensex today rallied 143 points as it moved closer to an all-time high. Rupee, meanwhile, climbed 7 paise against dollar on Tuesday.
10.20 am: Welcome to the live blog where we will be tracking all the developments taking place after the results of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat elections were announced on Monday.