Modi blows 2014 bugle from Gujarat platform

Written by feBureau | Ahmedabad | Updated: Dec 21 2012, 15:20pm hrs
ModiGujarat voted for the BJP under chief minister Narendra Modi for the third straight term. (Reuters)
Gujarat voted for the BJP under chief minister Narendra Modi for the third straight term, but did not probably give him enough to catapult him as his partys prime ministerial candidate in 2014. The state also clearly voted out a third force while accepting Modis development plank, but did not totally reject the Congresss dream-home either.

The BJPs final tally of 115 seats out of a total 182 indicated that Gujaratis were ready to take the ruling partys inclusive growth story forward while also voting for the personality cult that was a strong feature of the assembly elections held this month. The state also showed that it did not mind taking along brave leaders such as Keshubhai Patel.

Besides Patel, Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela won, although the partys chief Arjun Modhwadia and its legislature party leader Shaktisinh Gohil, lost. Even BJP state president RC Faldu lost.

Political observers said this suggests that the opposition in the new Gujarat assembly could be RSS-powered, with Vaghela leading the Congress and Keshubhai, sitting on the same side.

Although Modi described the victory as a hat-trick, the Congress bettered its score to 61, two seats more than 2007. Modi, speaking outside the BJP headquarters in Khanpur, mocked poll pundits for getting it wrong and asked people to forgive him for any mistake that he might have made as the crowd began to shout NM for PM towards the end of his speech.

This is the closest Modi has come to apologising after the 2002 Godhra riots.

Repeatedly crediting voters for his victory, Modi called the 6 crore Gujaratis, God and asked them to bless him so that he does not make any mistake in the future and added that the BJP was his maa and went on to thank the mothers and sisters and youth, covering the BJPs loyal votebank. He also specially thanked the karmayogis (government employees) as he said 75% of the postal ballots were in the BJPs favour.

While the BJP in Delhi was guarded in its comments about Modi being the partys PM candidate for 2014, Modi made no bones about the fact that this verdict was a launchpad for his vault to the national capital. He asked voters to send out this message of development to the country... This victory is for the people of India. For those in Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, wherever in the country and who want development, Modi said.

Earlier in the day, after the results came in, Modi met Patel and congratulated him and the state information bureau circulated pictures of the two laughing and sharing sweets.

Patels GPP won two seats, Visavadar and Dhari, while the Nationalist Congress Party also won two, one of which is Kutiyana, won by Godmother Santokben Jadejas son Kandhal. Umreth was won by NCP state president Jayant Patel alias Boskey.