34 of 37 Congress turncoats score wins in Gujarat elections - Hindustan Times
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34 of 37 Congress turncoats score wins in Gujarat elections

Dec 09, 2022 05:52 AM IST

The BJP which won 99 seats in 2017, went into this year’s elections with 111 MLAs. Meanwhile, the Congress, hit by a raft of defections in the run up to the polls, contested with 59 MLAs, down from 77 in 2017.

A majority of the leaders who had switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from the Congress since 2017 have won the 2022 assembly elections.

Ahmedabad: BJP supporters during a public meeting of Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel after BJP's victory in the Gujarat Assembly elections, in Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad: BJP supporters during a public meeting of Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel after BJP's victory in the Gujarat Assembly elections, in Ahmedabad

The party had fielded 37 leaders who switched to the party from the Congress — most of them were sitting MLAs at the time of joining. Of them, 34 leaders scored electoral victories, including OBC leader Alpesh Thakor (Gandhinagar south), Patidar leader Hardik Patel (Viramgam) and popular Koli leader and six-time MLA Kunvarji Bavalia (Jasdan).

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Of these 37, 20 leaders had switched to the BJP after the 2017 assembly elections, while 17 had joined ahead of the 2017 Rajya Sabha elections — in which late senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel won by one vote.

The BJP which won 99 seats in 2017, went into this year’s elections with 111 MLAs. Meanwhile, the Congress, hit by a raft of defections in the run up to the polls, contested with 59 MLAs, down from 77 in 2017.

The three sitting legislators who switched sides and were given tickets but did not win are: Ashwin Kotwal (Khedbrahma), Jawahar Chavda (Manavadar) and Harshad Ribadiya (Visavadar).

After the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections, a series of defections started in the Congress ranks. In the 2019 by-elections for seven assembly seats, the BJP had fielded five candidates who were former Congress legislators. It won four seats and the Congress took three. OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, who had defected to the BJP after winning the 2017 assembly election from Radhanpur seat, however, lost to rival Congress candidate Raghu Desai in the by-election.

In 2020, by-elections were held for eight seats in the state. Under the leadership of BJP’s newly appointed chief C R Paatil, the party fielded six candidates who had switched from the Congress. It won all eight seats.

In the tribal belt, where there are a total of 27 reserved seats for tribal candidates, the BJP’s seat tally rose to 14 from nine in 2017 and Congress’ shrunk from 15 to 10 following defections to the saffron party ahead of the December 2022 elections. The BJP has won 24 seats out of the 27 seats in tribal areas in this year’s elections.

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