THE TWO Assembly seats falling under the Lok Sabha constituency of state BJP president C R Paatil, Surat East and Limbayat, saw a tough contest. In Surat East, the BJP’s Arvind Rana and the Congress’s Aslam Cyclewala kept trading places till the 18th round, after which Rana won by over 14,000 votes. The Aam Aadmi Party had withdrawn from this seat, with over 92,000 Muslim voters, leaving the contest between the BJP, Congress and the AIMIM. Asaduddin Owaisi held three rallies in Surat in support of the party’s candidate.
Limbayat, a seat with a high migrant population and over 30% Muslim vote, had the highest number of candidates in the fray, 44. BJP candidate Sangita Patil and the Congress’s Gopal Patil similarly kept swapping the lead position here, before Sangita pulled ahead after the 15th round and won by a comfortable margin of 49,000-plus votes.
Of Limbayat’s 44 candidates, more than 30 were Muslim, almost all of them Independent. Confirming suspicions regarding the antecedents of these candidates, a majority of the Independents got less than 100 votes each.
Rana attributed his win to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and the hard work of BJP leaders. The Congress’s Cyclewala, in his speech, said, “I want to thank Muslim voters who have not given their votes to the AIMIM candidate.”
Newly elected Limbayat BJP MLA Sangita Patil thanked party workers, while rival Gopal Patil said that despite this being his first election, he had got over 22,000 votes.