#IndiaDecidesOn18th: In Gujarat, trends show BJP leading in 98 seats
For Gujarat assembly elections, counting of votes began at 8am. The Gujarat battle has heated up. At 9.52am, in a fierce contest, Congress is leading in 80 seats and BJP in 98 seats. The halfway-mark for the 182-member Assembly is 92 seats. Gujarat is touted as a prestige battle for PM Narendra Modi and a litmus test for Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
EC trends out for 147 seats: BJP leading in 78 seats (48.2% vote share) where as Congress leading in 64 seats (43.2%). NCP leading in 1, Bharatiya Tribal Party (which is a Congress ally) in 2 and independents leading in 2 seats— NewsBytes (@NewsBytesApp) December 18, 2017
In Rajkot (West), CM Vijay Rupani is leading against Congress's Indranil Rajyaguru. In Mandavi, Kutch, senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, a CM candidate, is trailing. A Muslim-dominated constituency, it also has Dalits, Patidars and Rajputs. Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor are leading in Vadgam and Radhanpur. Curiously, Congress is also leading in Mehsana. Modi's hometown Vadnagar falls in this constituency.
BJP is doing better than expected in North Gujarat. This region is a Kadva Patel stronghold, Hardik Patel's community. So, the question is: Did Hardik fall short in mobilizing Patels? Or did ex-Gujarat CM Shankarsinh Vaghela, a Congress-defector, spoil Congress's chances by poaching their votes?
However, Exit polls had predicted a clear winner in the BJP, with a win of about 110 seats, just five short of the 115 it won in 2012. This will be way above the 92-seat majority mark in the 182-member assembly. Chanakya, which got the 2014 prediction right, says Congress will be reduced to 47.
Meanwhile, the close battle and BJP's unexpected performance, has affected the stock market. Expecting instability, Sensex just recovered and is now up by 50 points. Initially, it was down by 860 points. Along with the Sensex, Rupee has tumbled 68paise to Rs.64.72 against the dollar.