Following weeks of intense campaigning, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday staved off a strong Congress challenge to secure a sixth straight victory in Gujarat, while the saffron party trampled the Congress government to return to power in hilly state of Himachal Pradesh.
As per the Election Commission final tally, the BJP won 99 seats while the Congress put a strong fight by winning 77 seats in 182-member Gujarat assembly. On the other hand, BJP ousted the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government in the 68-member Himachal Pradesh assembly. With the double victory, the BJP has tightened the grip over the country’s politics with general elections only 18 months away.
The BJP now rules in 19 states after wresting power from the Congress in Himachal.
Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017
9.13 pm: This is a blessing by the people to the leadership of PM Modi and his government. It shows that they support his vision for development and the vision for the future of India: Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was quoted as saying by ANI.
9.10 pm: We received 49% votes, more than what was predicted in Exit Polls. This is a victory for development. It was tough to change development into victory but our workers did it. Congress must introspect what went wrong for them: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quoted as saying by ANI.
7.54 pm: “EVMs cannot be manipulated in any way. I want to urge everyone to ignore rumours on this matter. The election conducted through EVMs & VVPAT are completely unbiased,” Chief Electoral Officer of Himachal Pradesh Pushpendra Rajput was quoted as saying by ANI.
7.45 pm: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and General Secretary of the party Saroj Pandey will go as observers to Gujarat and discuss about the leadership in the state. Similarly, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Tomar will go to Himachal Pradesh to discuss about the leadership of the state there: Union minister JP Nadda, reports ANI.
6.55 pm: PM Modi said, “There is no need to waste time on those who will keep dismissing our victory. Since 1989, BJP has been victorious in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls and this makes today’s win special.”
For me, Gujarat polls are a matter of double joy. I am so happy that after I left the state, my colleagues there continued the good work: PM @narendramodi
— narendramodi_in (@narendramodi_in) December 18, 2017
6.50 pm: “Sadly, a few people who were hungry for power, tried to sow the seeds of casteism. Gujarat has been rejecting those people and have rejected them again. We also have to be moe careful from now on. Our mantra remains ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.’ Six crore Gujaratis are one and they want to move ahead on the path of progress. Let every Gujarati embrace one another, we cannot and won’t be divided. Whatever happened, let that be forgotten…only think of unity and brotherhood,” says PM Modi in New Delhi.
6.30 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing BJP leaders at the party headquarters in New Delhi. Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah got a rousing welcome at the party office for the party’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. “Today, people of India have new hopes, dreams and aspirations. Main Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh ki janta ko shat-shat naman karta hun ki unhone vikas ke marg ko chuna,” Modi said, adding that the Opposition kept raising issues like GST and demonetisation but to no avail. “During UP elections it was said BJP would lose due to GST effect in urban areas, same was said in Gujarat elections and local body polls in Maharashtra,” he said.
“The results in Himachal Pradesh show that if you don’t do development and are embroiled in all wrong acts then after five years people will not accept you,” Modi said, in a veiled attack on chief minister Virbhadra Singh who is facing a disproportionate assets case.
6.05 pm: BJP chief Amit Shah, speaking at the party headquarters said the victory was one of Vikas over dynasty. Taking on the Congress for what he said was “politics of caste”, Shah said “people of the state rejected their idea”. “The way the Congress tried to fuel the fire of caste politics in Gujarat, BJP managed to overcome this and people of the state defeated them,” he said, adding that all big leaders of the Congress have lost the elections.
— Liz Mathew (@MathewLiz) December 18, 2017
6.00 pm: Former Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh has conceded defeat in the election. He also congratulated his son, Vikramaditya, who won the election. “I accept the victory of BJP. I, being the CM, take full responsibility of our performance here. I hope Vikramaditya (Singh) keeps winning in future, like he won today.”
5. 45 pm: Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu wished the BJP on their victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. “Congratulations BJP on winning the elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Wishing them all the best for their forthcoming tenure in governance.”
4.30 pm: Congress president Rahul Gandhi conceded defeat in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections congratulating the two new BJP governments that are set to take charge.
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.
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) December 18, 2017
4.10 pm: Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani won Vadgam by 20,000 votes on an Independent ticket. Mevani was backed by the Congress Party in the elections. Here’s a video he shared of celebrations post the victory.
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) December 18, 2017
4.00 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thanked the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their “affection and trust” in the BJP. He took to Twitter this afternoon and posted a series of tweets.
“Election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh indicate a strong support for politics of good governance and development. I salute the hardworking BJP Karyakartas in these states for their hardwork which has led to these impressive victories. I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly.”
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— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 18, 2017
Meanwhile, here’s a picture by our photographer Tashi Tobgyal of the colourful celebrations at the BJP headquarters in the national capital.
3.45 pm: Speaking to the media, Hardik Patel said, “aaj jo bhi nirnay aayee… Janta jagruk ho gayee hai…EVM tempering ka mudda bhi samne aaya hai. I am not in politics, I will take the agitation for reservation further. Despite crowd in my rallies I don’t know the reason for defeat. Mahol banaya gaya hai, tempering karke jeet ne wale BJP ko badhai. Ladai jari rahegi.”
3.25 pm: In Himachal, BJP’s Virender Kanwar, who has been elected from Kutlehar constituency, has announced he will give up his seat for 73-year old former chief minister PK Dhumal. Meanwhile, in the Congress camp, both, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son, Vikramaditya, have registered victories to the House.
3.15 pm: Bhartiya Tribal Party president Mahesh Vasava, son of former JDU leader Chhotu Vasava, has won Dediapada constituency in Narmada district, defeating BJP sitting MLA Moti Vasava by 21700 votes. With that BTP gets two seats. In Jhagadia-ST, Chhotu Vasva won by 48600 votes.
3.10 pm: “I express my gratitude to the people of Vadgam for all their support. Now I will raise the voice of Gujarat’s discriminated sections in the assembly,” says Jignesh Mevani speaking to reporters during a victory rally.
2.55 pm: Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi writes that the Gujarat results are an indication that the BJP has just survived a tough challenge put forth by the Congress and that the party will have to up its game in the run up to the 2019 elections.
One thing is for sure, the 2019 contest is wide open.
2.40 pm: Let us take a look at the numbers once again. As of now, the BJP has 103 (leads and wins) while the Congress has 77. In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP has 44 (leads and wins) while the Congress has 20, down 16 from its earlier tally.
2.10 pm: “In his opening innings he scored zero,” says Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, referring to Rahul Gandhi’s maiden election results as Congress president.
1.50 pm: Jasabhai Barad, a minister in the outgoing government, loses in Somnath to Congress candidate Vimal Chudasama, who defeated him by 20,450 votes. Barad had previously won in the 2012 assembly election from the same seat as a Congress candidate, but he defected to the BJP and won the resultant by-poll. He then went on to become a minister in Anandiben Patel and Vijay Rupani’s government.
1.40 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, speaking to reporters, said, “People have rejected divisive politics of Congress, this win is due to the dynamic leadership of BJP and the hard work of BJP workers.”
He also took a swipe at newly-elevated Congress president Rahul Gandhi. “Maine pehle hi kaha tha ki Congress ka netritve badalna BJP ke liye shubh sanket hoga (I had already said before that the BJP would benefit from a change in leadership at the Congress),” he was quoted by ANI as saying.
1.30 pm: In Dabhoi assembly constituency, veteran Congress leader Siddharth Patel lost to BJP’s Shailesh Mehta Sotta by 2839 votes. Sotta was earlier slapped with a notice by the Election Commission for his alleged inflammatory speech during the poll campaign.
1.20 pm: Rubbing it in? BJP workers and supporters gather outside a restaurant owned by Congress candidate Indranil Rajaguru, who lost to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Rajkot West by over 30,000 votes.
1.10 pm: Meanwhile, in Chhota Udepur district, the Congress managed to scrape through with sitting MLA Mohan Rathwa winning by just 700 votes. The BJP is leading in Sankheda and Jetpur Pavi constituencies.
Rajkot mayor Jaiman Upadhyaya (with BJP scarf) attends to a BJP worker after the latter collapsed. Upadhyaya is a practicing doctor. The worker had gathered on Kalavad Road to join victory procession of CM Vijay Rupani in Rajkot #LIVE #GujaratElection2017 @IndianExpress @lynnmis pic.twitter.com/a87NZWjl6I
— Gopal Kateshiya (@gopalreports) December 18, 2017
1.00 pm: Former JD(U) MLA Chhotubhai Vasava has won from Jhagadia. He had contested on the symbol of Bhartiya Tribal Party, a party he founded after he split from JD(U).
12.50 pm: In Punjab, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, scheduled to hold a press conference today, has now cancelled it owing to the party’s defeat in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The Congress swept the civic polls held in three municipal corporations.
Punjab CM @capt_amarinder cancels the press conf he had called today ostensibly on the municipal elections win. Wise choice. You cannot tom tom municipal victories when your party loses assembly polls in two states.
— Man Aman Singh Chhina (@manaman_chhina) December 18, 2017
12.30 pm: These are the numbers at 12. 45 pm. In Gujarat, where the final round final round of counting is underway, BJP is leading (won) 106 seats while the Congress is leading (won) in 74. In Himachal Pradesh, where the BJP is set to form government, the BJP is leading (won) in 46 seats while the Congress is leading (won) in 20.
12.15 pm: Has PM Modi proved that he no longer needs a ‘wave’ to win an election? Jyoti Malhotra writes: “The PM’s aggressive campaign, especially in the last week, when he campaigned despite a sore throat, has pulled the BJP’s troubles out of the fire. In this campaign, there was no “wave,” no headwind in favour of the BJP. In fact, a lot of the voters were sitting on the fence. Further, the equally aggressive campaign run by Rahul Gandhi and Hardik Patel, the leader of the Patidar Patels, also seem to have, somewhat, charmed the voter. Under these difficult circumstances, for the PM to still deliver the state to the BJP is a magnificent victory.” Read more here.
12.00 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon be visiting the party headquarters where workers have begun celebrating their victory in the two states. In the Congress, party workers gathered at 24, Akbar Road, are unhappy over their performance in the two states. Congress president Rahul Gandhi will soon be visiting the AICC headquarters where he is likely to make a statement.
11.33 am: Will the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh election results have an impact on the upcoming Karnataka polls?
11. 40 am: Out of five seats in Surendranagar, BJP leads at 3 seats with a very thin margin in two – Wadhwan by 657 votes and Dasada by 137 votes – and Limdi by 5100. The Congress leads in two seats with a comfortable margin – Chotila (6700) and Dhrangadara (3700). Another MLA who defected from Congress to BJP, Mansinh Chauhan, is trailing in Balasinor. Ajit Chauhan is leading. DM Patel is leading by 30729 in Botad.
11.30 am: Congress leads in Umreth constituency, Anand by 2000 votes. NCP’s sitting MLA Jayant Patel alias Boskey is trailing. It’s a tough fight between BJP and Congress for Umreth. Meanwhile, Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani leads by 5000 votes in the Bhavnagar West seat.
11.20 am: Here are the numbers at around 11 am. In Gujarat, where counting is in its ninth round, the BJP is leading in 104 and the Congress in 76. In Himachal, the BJP is leading in 45 while the Congress is at 19.
11.10 am: Celebrations have begun outside the BJP headquarters in New Delhi. Party workers were seen waving the party flag to chants of Modi, Modi! While the party hasn’t quite won what they had set out to achieve but as Maharashtra BJP leader Poonam Mahajan put it: “A victory is a victory”.
10. 55 am: In Kheda’s Mahuda Assembly, Congress candidate Indrajit Thakor is leading by 12,431 votes. Indrajit is the son of six term Congress MLA Natvarsinh Thakor who earlier contested from the same seat, and who was among the 43 MLAs to stay with the party during the Rajya Sabha polls. BJP candidate Sharesh Bhabhor from Limkheda constituency in Dahod is leading by 20,491 votes after ninth round of counting.
Congress leader Alpesh Thakor leads on radhanpur seat by 3335 against BJP candidate @IndianExpress
— Avinash Nair (@Avinashgnair) December 18, 2017
10. 48 am: Celebrations for the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, arriving at Parliament House, flashed the V sign as he got out of his vehicle. Gujarat, Modi’s home state, is set to have another five-year term of the BJP.
10.45 am: Speaking to reporters outside Parliament House, Home minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh said the BJP was confident of forming government in both the states — Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh — with a clear majority.
10.45 am: This is the vote-share figures for Himachal at 10.30 am. The BJP has managed to secure 50 per cent of the vote share while the Congress has secured 42.5 per cent of the votes. This, however, will change as the counting process comes to an end.
10.30 am: In Gujarat, BJP Sitting MLA Jetha Ahir is leading by over 17000 votes from Sehra Assembly constituency in Panchmahal district. In Jamalpur, the BJP is trailing. In Himachal, cabinet minister Sudhir Sharma is trailing by 1050 votes in Dharamshala. Mukesh Agnihotri, minister for industries, is leading by 2000 votes from Haroli assembly constituency.
10.20 am: According to data from the Election Commission, where leads for 167 of 182 seats are out. The BJP has managed to secure 49 per cent of the vote share while the Congress has got 42 per cent. This number will change as the final figures come in.
10.15 am: A quick look at the numbers, two hours after counting began in both the states. In Gujarat, the BJP has taken lead again and is nearing their 2012 figure of 115. They are currently at 106 with the Congress at 74. In Himachal Pradesh, The BJP is at 39 while the Congress is at 23, down 13.
10.00 am: In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal is trailing. The BJP, however, has taken a lead with 41 to 21. Vikramadiyta Singh, Virbhadra’s son, said: “We will reverse the trends.” In Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani is leading by over 6000 votes. BJP’s Nitin Patel is trailing and so is BJP’s Saurabh Patel.
9.50 am: The election fever has gripped those holidaying in Shimla as well. Kanchan Vasudev sends us this picture of a huge crowd outside the tourist information centre in Shimla.
We are seeing similar scenes in Gujarat as well where the contest has now become neck and neck and the BJP is struggling to maintain a significant lead in the election. Our photographer Javed Raja sent us the picture below.
9. 45 am: After about three rounds of counting, the BJP is currently at 100 in Gujarat and the Congress is at 81. BJP leading in all 10 Assembly Constituencies in Vadodara as well as in Dariyapur seat in Ahmedabad. In Himachal, The BJP is leading in 41 while the Congress is at 23.
9.40 am: With the BJP taking lead again, the markets seem to have recovered a bit. It’s now down just 400 points as against the 600 points earlier.
As BJP takes lead again, markets take comfort … Sensex recovers almost 400 points, now down around 300 points @IndianExpress
9.35 am: CEC AK Joti speaking to reporters this morning said there was no chance of voting machines being hacked. Joti’s assertion comes at a time when many have raised questions over the alleged EVM tampering in some booths. “I assure you that there can be no tampering with the EVMs” CEC Joti was quoted as saying.
9.30 am: The Congress is leading in Una and in Godhra.Jignesh Mevani is leading in Vadgam. In the two seats in Tapi, the Congress is trailing. The Congress is also leading in Bapunagar and Thakkarbapanagar that are Patidar dominated areas in Ahmedabad.
9.20 am: The Gujarat results are having an impact on the markets in India. The Sensex is down over 600 points in early morning trade, our correspondent Sandeep Singh reports.
Markets nervous as BJP and Congress in neck to neck fight .. Sensex down 680 points or 2% @IndianExpress
— Sandeep Singh (@Tweetsandeep) December 18, 2017
9.15 am: A little over an hour after counting began, the Congress Party has taken lead in Gujarat with 90 to 88 for the BJP. Will the party be able to retain its lead and secure a victory? We will have to wait and watch.
9.10 am: Quotas, asmita, and how the battle this year has come full circle. The Congress has put up a fight more spirited than it has shown in many years, and the BJP has betrayed the nerves of long incumbency. Our Gujarat Resident Editor Leena Misra explains. Also, a quick look at the numbers at 9 am. The BJP is leading in 75 seats while the Congress is leading in 74. In Himachal Pradesh, The BJP is leading in 14 while the Congress is leading in 10. This is still the first round of counting.
9.00 am: It’s a cold morning in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh where the BJP has taken an early lead in the election. Our correspondent Kanchan Vasudev sent us this picture from outside the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex where a screen has been erected for passersby to watch the election results, but it has few takers.
8.45 am: POLL | Do you think the Congress overestimated the Patidar vote?
8.30 am: Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani is leading in Rajkot West. The numbers in Gujarat as on now, are 53 for the BJP and 17 for the Congress. In Himachal Pradesh, counting is relatively slower, with the BJP leading in two seats while the Congress in one.
8. 15 am: In Himachal Pradesh, postal votes are being counted where the BJP is leading 3-2. In Gujarat, the BJP is leading in 33 and the Congress in eight. Do remember, these are postal votes that are being counted and round one of counting will begin a little before 9 am.
— Gopal Kateshiya (@gopalreports) December 18, 2017
8. 10 am: The first leads are in for Gujarat. Of the eight leads, six are for the BJP and two for the Congress. These seats were earlier held by their respective parties so there’s no loss or gain in the leads. We are still awaiting a lead in Himachal Pradesh.
8.00 am: Counting of votes has begun in both the states. Before the numbers start pouring in, here’s a quick look at the 2012 numbers in both the states. In Gujarat, the BJP won 115 seats while the Congress won 61. The latest numbers, however, are 121 for the BJP and 43 for the Congress. This after defections, by-polls, and resignations.
In Himachal Pradesh, The Congress won 36 seats while the BJP won 28. Independent candidates won four seats in the 68-member House.
7.45 am: Our correspondent in Himachal Pradesh, Ashwani Sharma, says the weather is upbeat across the state as counting is set to begin in the next 15 minutes. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha are at their Holly Lodge residence, glued to the television set.
7.20 am: If you haven’t had the time to watch the exit-poll predictions for the states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, click here for a quick look at the numbers and what each poll research agency predicts will happen in the two states. If you have a different opinion on the exit poll results, do tell us what you think in the comment section below.
7.10 am: Counting of votes begins at 8 am in both the states. Postal votes are counted in the first hour following which the first round of counting begins. We are expecting to get the first trends by about 10 am this morning based on which we will know if this is going to be a one-party sweep or a neck and neck election. If you would like to get updates in Tamil, do follow our election live blog here.
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