BJP’s candidate Arvind Patel, a head clerk at a private trust-run school in Asura village of Valsad district, won from Dharampur — a seat that the Congress had been winning for the last three terms. Patel (52), who defeated Congress’s Ishvarbhai Patel by 22,246 votes, credited his victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll meeting at Dharampur in run-up to the Assembly elections. “My social service and PM Modi’s public meeting were reasons for my victory. My party workers had worked hard as it was difficult for the BJP to snatch the seat from the Congress. I am still working as a head clerk in Asura school and I am associated with different ashram schools. My aim to provide better education to tribal children,” Arvind Patel told The Indian Express.
The BJP’s performance, however, was not as impressive in other tribal-dominated seats and Congress candidates snatched seats from the saffron party in Tapi and Narmada districts. The state has a total of 37 constituencies with a significant tribal population, of which the BJP won 19 seats and the Congress 15. While, 2 seats went to BTP, one was won by an Independent. Out of the 35 seats in south Gujarat, 12 are dominated by Scheduled Tribes. In Bharuch, Chhotu Vasava, Congress-backed BTP candidate, retained his Jhagadia seat by 48,948 votes. His son Mahesh Vasava won Dediapada in Narmada by 21,751 votes. Read | PM Modi terms verdict ‘historic’, says it proves country is ready for reform
Congress candidate Premsinh Vasava wrested Nandod seat in Narmada. While Vasava was polled 81,849 votes, his nearest rival Shabdasharan Tadvi got 75,520 votes. In Surat district, Congress suffered a setback as former Union minister Tushar Chaudhary, who contested from Mahuva. lost to BJP’s sitting MLA Dhodhiya Mansinh. BJP heavyweight candidate Ganpat Vasava retained his Mangrol seat in Surat, while Congress’s Anand Chaudhary won Mandvi — the only victory for the party in the district. He won by 50,776 votes.
In Tapi district, Congress’s Sunil Gamit snatched Nizar seat from BJP’s Kanti Gamit by over 23,000 votes. The Opposition party also won Vyara seat, where its candidate Punaji Gamit, lone Christian in the fray who was supported by several Christian priests in the area, defeated BJP’s Arvindbhai Chaudhari by 24.414 votes. On two tribal seats in Navsari district — Vansda and Gandevi — the Congress and the BJP got one each.
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From Vansda seat, Congress’s Anantkumar Patel defeated BJP’s Ganpatbhai Mahla by 18,393 votes. The party retained this seat despite sitting MLA Chhana Chaudhary leaving the party ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections in August.
In Gandevi, BJP’s Naresh Patel won by 57,261 votes. In the Dangs, Congress’s tribal leader and sitting MLA Mangal Gavit retained the Dang Assembly seat.
Out of three ST seats in Valsad, BJP won two. While Arvind Patel won from Dharampur, his party colleague Raman Patkar retained Umargam constituency. Congress’s Jitu Chaudhary too retained Kaprada seat but by merely 170 votes against BJP’s Madhubahi Raut who was polled 92,830 votes. At Morva Hadaf in the Panchmahals, Bhupendrasinh Khant defeated BJP’s Vikramsinh Dindor by 4366 votes.