BJP Colors Fly High In Gujarat: PM Declares Party Supremacy In State

BJP Colors Fly High In Gujarat: PM Declares Party Supremacy In State

As voting continued on Monday, BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member state house in Gujarat, crossing the 92 seat halfway mark required to rule!

P.M. Narendra Modi has declared victory for his BJP party in a key election contest in the western state of Gujarat, as well as in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

As voting continued on Monday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was on track to win 99 seats in the 182-member state house in Gujarat, crossing the 92 seat halfway mark required to rule.

“All these results reveal one thing: the country is ready for reforms”. Modi says on Monday at the headquarters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“People have voted for development,” he added. “These are historic results for Gujarat.”

As the votes were counted, Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi conceded defeat, congratulating the BJP on the win.

“The party accepts the verdict of the people and congratulates the new governments in both states,” Gandhi said in a tweet. “I thank the people of Gujarat and Himachal with all my heart for the love they showed me.”

In 2012, the BJP won 115 of Gujarat’s 182 seats.

The BJP has governed Gujarat for the past 22 years and Modi was the chief minister of the state three times.

“Our party cannot be defeated for a hundred years,” the prime minister had said to a crowd of supporters in a rally at Morbi in Gujarat last month.

On Monday, vote counting began at 8 am local time.

“[The results are] an endorsement of the kind of governance that we have provided in Gujarat for 22 years,” BJP national spokesperson Nalin Kohli told Al Jazeera.

“It is a rejection of the politics of divisiveness of caste that saw introduction in the campaign by the Congress party,” Kohli adds.

“With the Congress party, the bar is hitting a new low. Meanwhile, the people are not talking about a victory but that they put up a good fight.”

Modi’s ‘continued popularity in the state’: BJP Success Mantra

People cast their ballots in two phases, the first on December 9 followed by another on December 14. Data from the Election Commission said the average turnout in the two phases was 68.41 percent.

Nearly 40 million people were eligible to vote in 182 assembly constituencies.

“Clearly the BJP’s biggest asset remains Prime Minister Modi. He extensively campaigned in the state. He spoke about development in the state but also infused the campaign with a degree of Hindu nationalist rhetoric”. Prashant Jha, the associate editor at the Hindustan Times and author of How the BJP wins, expresses.

“But at the end of the day, he made this election all about himself. He asked the voters ‘Do you trust me or not? Will you let me down?’ And the Gujarati voters decided they continued to have faith in Modi. I would think the single most important reason why the BJP has won is that of the Prime Minister’s continued popularity in the state,” he told Al Jazeera.

Modi battled caste protests, anger from the Dalit community. Who were considered the lowest in the Hindu caste system, and disquiet from traders and smaller businesses, hit by a note ban and the chaos over the implementation of a new sales tax.

The opposition Congress’ strategy had depended upon enlisting the support of three young Hindu men. Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakore.