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Exit polls have predicted a big majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) in Gujarat and if these projections are any indication the saffron party is all set to retain power in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for the seventh consecutive term and equal Left Front’s feat in West Bengal. The CPI(M)-led Front ruled the eastern state for 34 years from 1977 to 2011.
The BJP, which won 99 seats in the 2017 polls, is projected to win in the range of 117-151 seats in a House of 182 and the Congress between 16 and 51 seats. It is also upbeat about the possibility of the AAP eating into Congress votes, which could be additionally beneficial for the saffron party.
The poll outcome will determine if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) gets a chance to establish itself as a pan-national party and a challenger to the BJP at the national level also.
The AAP, which is in power in Delhi and Punjab and had launched an aggressive campaign to make it a three-cornered contest for the first time in Gujarat, was projected to bag anything between 2 and 13 seats. The majority mark is 92.
Gujarat Election Result 2022 LIVE Updates
The fate of Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi, youth leaders Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakor, among a total 1,621 candidates will be decided on Thursday.
Here is the list of the Top contenders to watch out for:
Hardik Patel: All eyes are once again on the less-in-number yet influential Patidar or Patel community of Gujarat, which had put the ruling BJP on the edge in the 2017 Assembly elections that took place in the shadow of Hardik Patel-led quota agitation to secure OBC status for the community. Patel has contested as a BJP candidate and is fielded opposite Congress candidate Lakhabhai Bharwad and AAP Amarsinh Thakore.
Bhupendra Patel from Ghatlodia: The Chief Minister who replaced Vijay Rupani last year has contested from the Ghatlodia constituency. He is contesting opposite Amee Yajnik from Congress.
Isudan Gadhvi from Khambhaliya: AAP’s CM candidate Isudan Gadhvi has been fielded from Khambhalia seat in Devbhumi Dwarka. As the exit polls has predicted not more than 20 seats for the AAP, Kejriwal has said that the party will win more than 100 seats.
Gopal Italia from Katargam: AAP’s state president Gopal Italia is contesting from Katargam constituency who is considered to be an influential Patidar leader, from the constituency. He had played a key role in the Patidar quota agitation in 2015. He will face off against Congress candidate Kaplesh Variya, who belongs to the Prajapati community (OBC), and BJP candidate Vinodbhai Amrishbhai Mordiya.
Jignesh Mevani from Vadgam: Jignesh Mevani, who is eyeing a second term from Vadgam, but this time on the Congress ticket. He was elected as an independent MLA from the same seat in 2017 with the Congress’s support. He had said that the Congress will win 120 Assembly seats and lay the foundation for rebuilding Gujarat.
Rivaba Jadeja from Jamnagar North: BJP candidate from North Jamnagar Rivaba Jadeja is wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja. Notably, her sister-in-law Naynaba Jadeja belongs to the Congress party. Rivaba’s father-in-law was also seen joining Naynaba in the campaigns. She had said, “There is no difficulty. There can be people of different ideologies in the same family. I have trust in the people of Jamnagar, we will focus on overall development, and this time as well BJP will win with a good margin.”
Kantilal Amrutiya from Morbi: The BJP has fielded Kantilal Amrutiya, who replaced sitting MLA and Cabinet Minister Brijesh Merja, and he is up against Congress’ Jayantilal Jerajbhai Patel and AAP’s Pankaj Ransariya. Morbi, which became a talking point following the tragic incident recently in which a suspension bridge fell into the river claiming the lives of over 130 people. The Opposition parties, during the campaign, raised the issue of “mismanagement” in the Morbi incident, trying to corner the government on the incident. However, historically, the BJP has won the Morbi Assembly seat in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2012 before Amrutiya lost to Merja, who was in Congress in 2017. Merja had joined BJP later and won the by-polls from Morbi again. The BJP has Merja with Amrutiya in 2022.
Apart from the main rivals BJP, Congress and AAP, 101 candidates from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and 26 from Bharatiya Tribal party (BTP) also contested. In the 2017 Assembly polls, BJP won 99 seats and Congress 77 seats, while two seats went to BTP, one to NCP, and three to independents. Ahead of this month’s elections, the BJP’s number in the House stood at 110 and Congress at 60 after 20 MLAs who won on Congress seats switched over to the BJP in the last five years, three of them quitting just ahead of the elections. Punjab CM and AAP leader Bhagwant Mann spoke on his party winning the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, adding it will perform well in Gujarat too. “The BJP wanted to stop AAP, so it had fielded its entire force on the ground. I will be with you again tomorrow during the Gujarat Assembly polls results. The results will be surprising. The exit polls will prove to be wrong in Gujarat. I will go to the party office and celebrate with the workers,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)
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