After more than 21 years,the Gujarat Congress today wrested the Mansa Assembly constituency from the ruling BJP. The victory assumes significance as the constituency is considered a BJP bastion and its campaign was planned and monitored by Chief Minister Narendra Modi,who also held a Sadbhavana Mission fast here. Besides,it was the last crucial test before the Assembly polls later this year.
At least 75 per cent of the voters had turned up and Babusinh Thakor of Congress defeated BJPs Dashrath Patel by 8,182 votes.
The bypoll had been necessitated by the death of former speaker Mangaldas Patel. The loss of Mansa is a second blow to the ruling BJP in north Gujarat its traditional stronghold after having lost to the Congress in the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation in April last year.
It is home to some powerful politicians such as the controversial former minister of state for home Amit Shah. At the time of the election,the BJP had posted ministers at polling booths. State BJP president R C Faldu blamed the defeat on the absence of a three-pronged fight. This time it was between us and the Congress…votes meant for independents went to the Congress, he said.
The man especially happy would be Shankersinh Vaghela,the partys election campaign committee in-charge. He had also led the partys Sardar Sandesh Yatra from Mansa on January 4 and his skills as a campaigner had been at stake before the Assembly elections. Mansa is considered the epicentre of north Gujarat politics. By-elections are mostly won by the ruling party. But here they have lost, said Vaghela today.