BJP snatches prestige seat from Congress in Gujarat
By  IANS | Updated:  Dec 23, 2018, 12:00 PM
The BJP came up trumps and touched the 100-seat mark in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly by capturing the Jasdan seat in the Saurashtra region from the Congress in a by-election, the result of which was declared on Sunday.
For the BJP winner, Kunwarji Bavalia, it was a cakewalk. He retained the seat which he had won in 2017 as a Congress candidate. It was his quitting the Congress earlier that necessitated the by-election on December 20.
Bavalia won by almost 20,000 votes defeating Congress' Avsar Nakia, once his campaign manager.
Bavaliya had quit the Congress because he was denied the leader of the Opposition post, which is an equivalent to a Cabinet minister, and the ruling BJP made him a cabinet minister hours after he joined it.
The Jasdan election became a prestige fight for both the BJP and Congress, particularly after the ruling party's rout in the recently concluded elections to Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly elections.
After the by-poll result was declared on Sunday, Bavaliya, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and state BJP president Jitu Vaghani described it as good tidings for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"That the Congress is gaining ground in the Saurashtra region has proved as a myth. The BJP is still in the hearts of the people of Gujarat and we will repeat the 2014 performance by winning all the 26 lok Sabha seats in the state," Rupani said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted on the Jasdan by-poll thanking the voters for reposing their faith in the developmental politics of the BJP.
State Congress leaders accused the BJP of misusing the government machinery to win the seat and claimed that the outcome of a by-poll did not necessarily reflect the mood of the people.
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