The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made a clean sweep in Kutch district bordering Pakistan by winning all the six Assembly constituencies in the region.
The Congress, which carried out a silent campaign in rural areas, failed to retain even the two seats it had won last time.
The debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) failed to win seats, but caused enough damage to the Congress, even leading to its defeat in its stronghold Rapar.
Kutch district has six Assembly constituencies – Abdasa, Bhuj, Rapar – all bordering Pakistan – and Mandvi, Anjar and Gandhidham. The district has around 16 lakh voters.
In Kutch district, the BJP this time polled 5,16,877 votes as compared to 4,33, 503 in 2017, whereas the Congress bagged 3,23,218 ballots, down from 4,03,520 five years ago.
In 2017, the BJP won four seats – Bhuj, Mandvi, Anjar and Gandhidham – whereas two Assembly segments – Abdasa and Rapar – went to the Congress. However, the Congress MLA from Abdasa switched over to the BJP in 2020 and won the seat in a bypoll.
The BJP was hopeful of making a clean sweep this time, riding on both development plank and a divided Opposition.
On the other hand, the Congress was banking on resentment in the BJP camp over the choice of candidates and the persisting water crisis in the region.
In Abdasa, BJP candidate, former Congress turncoat and sitting MLA Pradyumansinh Jadeja, from the Kshatriya community, won by a margin of 9,431 votes.
Jadeja bagged 80,195 votes, Congress nominee Mamad Jung Jat 70,764 and AAP candidate Vasantbhai Khetani 1,704 votes.
Jadeja won the seat for the Congress in 2017 by a margin of around 10,000 votes.
In the Bhuj seat, the ruling party replaced its two-time sitting MLA and Assembly Speaker Nimaben Acharya with local party leader Keshubhai Patel. This time the BJP bagged 96,582 votes and the Congress 36,768.
AAP candidate Rajesh Pindoroa secured 8,060 votes and the AIMIMs Sakil Sama 31,295.
The Bhuj constituency, which has around 2.80 lakh voters, has one of the highest minority populations of the district, constituting roughly 15 per cent of the electorate. The BJP won the seat by bagging nearly 50 per cent of the votes and by a margin of 14,000 in 2017.
In Anjar, the ruling outfit replaced its two-time sitting MLA Vasanbhai Ahir with party leader Trikambhai Chhanga. The BJP won the seat by bagging 48 per cent votes and a margin of 11,000 votes in 2017.
This time, the BJP won the seat by a margin of 37,709 votes by bagging 99076 votes. Congress candidate Ramesh Bhai Dangar polled 61,367 votes and AAPs Arjanbhai Rabari 7,335.
In the Mandvi seat, the BJPs Anirudh Dave bagged 90,303 votes, whereas the Congresss Rajendrasinh Jadeja polled 42,006. The AAP bagged 22791 votes, whereas AIMIM secured 8,494 ballots.
The BJP had won the seat with a margin of 9,000 votes in 2017. The number of voters in this constituency is 2, 54,000.
In Rapar, sitting Congress MLA Bacchubhai Aarheriya lost to Virendrasinh Jadeja of the BJP by just 577 votes. The Congress bagged 66,384 votes and Jadeja secured 66,961. AAPs Amba Paravant Patel bagged 2,434 votes.
The Congress had won the seat by a margin of 15,000 votes and bagged 49 per cent of the votes polled in 2017.
In the Gandhidham (SC) reserved seat, the BJPs sitting MLA, Malti Kishore Maheshwari, retained the seat by bagging 8,376 votes. The BJPs victory margin was 37,831 votes, up from 20,000 in 2017.
Congress candidate Bharatbhai Solanki bagged 45,929 votes this time, whereas AAPs Budhabhai Maheshwari polled 14,827. Gandhidham has around 3,11,000 voters.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)