The Bharatiya Janata Party retained Gujarat after what seemed to be a close race with the Congress earlier in the day. At 8 am on Monday, the Election Commission began to count the votes cast for the Assembly elections on December 9 and 14, with a turnout of 68.41% for its 182 seats.
The elections this year are particularly important for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as it will be considered a testimony of how successful demonetisation and the rollout of the Goods and Service Tax have been. Gujarat has had a Bharatiya Janata Party government for the last 22 years now.
The Gujarat polls are also equally significant for Rahul Gandhi as this was the first Assembly election after he became the Congress president.
Here is how the day unfolded:
9.55 pm: A look at how the seat shares of parties changed in Gujarat since 1962.
9.30 pm: Of the 99 seats the BJP won, it retained 81 of those it won in 2012 and bagged 18 from the Congress. The Congress, however, fared much better in the Assembly elections, having gained 35 seats from the BJP and retained 42.
9.07 pm: The Election Commission has completed counting the votes cast in the Gujarat Assembly polls. Of the 182 constituencies, the BJP won 99 – seven more than the majority mark of 92 – and the Congress, 77. The saffron party will form the Gujarat government for the sixth straight time. However, its seat-share in the Assembly is significantly lower than that in the elections in 2012, when it won from 115 constituencies.
8.55 pm: The BJP has won 98 constituencies and is leading in the only seat whose final numbers have not been declared. Congress has won 77 seats.
8.06 pm: The Congress won 76 seats and is leading in one. The BJP won from 97 constituencies – five more than the 92 required for a majority in the Gujarat Assembly – and is leading in two.
7.45 pm: Health Minister JP Nadda told reporters that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP General Secretary Saroj Pandey will go to Gujarat as observers to discuss the state leadership, whereas Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Urban Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will head to Himachal Pradesh.
7.43 pm: The BJP won 97 seats and is leading in two. The Congress won from 75 constituencies and is ahead in two.
7.10 pm: Modi and Amit Shah are attending a BJP Parliamentary Board meeting at the party headquarters. The party has won 95 seats and is ahead in four others. The Congress has bagged 75 seats and is leading in two. Results for one more seat, where an independent candidate leads are also yet to come in.
6.37 pm: Modi called the Gujarat election results “historic”. “During the Uttar Pradesh local body elections it was said BJP would lose due to the effect of the Goods and Services Tax in urban areas. The same was said during Gujarat elections and local body polls in Maharashtra,” Modi said in a dig at the Opposition Congress.
The prime minister said the BJP in 2017 retained all the seats it won in the 1989 Assembly election, and most of the seats it won in the six subsequent elections in the state. Modi also accused the Congress of hatching “conspiracies” in Gujarat, and claimed that the party had spread a lot of misinformation.
6.29 pm: The BJP crossed the halfway mark by winning 93 seats, the Election Commission’s website showed. The party is also leading on six other seats. The Congress won 75 seats and is ahead on two seats.
6.23 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the BJP’s Delhi headquarters after the party looked set to win the Assembly elections in Gujarat. BJP President Amit Shah is also present at the venue.
6.10 pm: The BJP has won 90 seats and is leading in nine others, Election Commission data shows. The Congress has won 73 seats and is leading in four.
5.50 pm: According to the Election Commission, the BJP won 85 seats and is leading in 14 more. The Congress bagged 71 seats and is ahead in six more.
4.48 pm: The BJP won 72 seats and is leading in 27 more, according to the Election Commission. The Congress, on the other hand, bagged 65 and is ahead in 12 others.
4.34 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi congratulated the new governments, and said his party accepts the verdict of the people. “I thank the people of Gujarat and Himachal [Pradesh] with all my heart for the love they showed me,” he said on Twitter.
4.32 pm: Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said, “Two independents who won support Congress+ and so does NCP [Nationalist Congress Party] so the Congress+ tally right now is 84 and BJP is 98-99.”
4.27 pm: Congress candidate Alpesh Thakor, the face of the Kshatriya-Thakor community in the state, won the Radhanpur seat. He defeated BJP candidate Solanki Lavingi Muljiji Thakor by a margin of 14,857 votes, according to the Election Commission.
4.12 pm: BJP President Amit Shah said the election results were a victory of development over dynasty and polarisation. He added that the BJP won comfortably and there was “no close contest”.
4.11 pm: Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said the results were a moral win for the party.
3.36 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the people for the party’s win in Gujarat as well as Himachal Pradesh, and said the results were an indication that the people supported the “politics of good governance and development”.
3.31 pm: Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani wins Vadgam seat, according to the Election Commission. He defeated the BJP candidate by a margin of 19,696 votes.
3.16 pm: Patidar leader Hardik Patel reiterated himself by alleging that there has been tampering of electronic voting machines in Surat, Rajkot and Ahmedabad. “Hence the gap is very less wherever tampering happened. EVMs are hackable,” said Patel.
3.15 pm: Modasa, Kaprada, Dhandhuka, Dholka and Dangs were five seats that had the closest contest.
3.09 pm: Dalit leader and independent candidate Jignesh Mevani thanked the people of Vadgam. “I express my gratitude to the people of Vadgam for all their support. Now I will raise the voice of Gujarat’s discriminated sections in the Assembly,” he told ANI.
2.40 pm: BJP minister Chimanbhai Sapariya trailing from Jamjodhpur to Congress candidate Rameshbhai Kalariya, according to ANI.
2.06 pm: The BJP won 15 seats and is leading in 85 more, according to the Election Commission. The Congress also won 15 and is ahead in 62 others.
1.20 pm: According to the Election Commission, the BJP won nine seats and is leading in 93 more. The Congress, on the other hand, won six and is ahead in 68 others.
12.34 pm: Congress candidate Indrajitsinh Natvarsinh Parmar won the Mahudha seat by 13,601 votes, says the Election Commission.
12.02 pm: BJP is leading in all seven constituencies of Banaskantha, where voters were angry about their Congress MLAs “running away” to Bengaluru in the aftermath of the devastating floods in August.
11.59 am: BJP candidate Babubhai Bhimabhai Bokhiriya wins Porbandar seat by 1,855 votes, says Election Commission.
11.50 am: Congress has a 7% vote share lead over the BJP in Patidar-dominated constituencies, says Aaj Tak.
11.38 am: The BJP is leading in Hardik Patel’s hometown Viramgam, reports ETV Gujarati.
11.33 am: The BJP is leading in 105 seats while the Congress in 69, according to the Election Commission. The Nationalist Congress Party is ahead in one seat while the Bharatiya Tribal Party is leading in two. Independent candidates are leading in four seats.
11.23 am: BJP is leading all of Surat’s 16 constituencies. It is also leading in nine out of 10 constituencies in Vadodara, reports TV9 Gujarati.
11.15 am: BJP candidate and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani wins from Rajkot West, reports TV9 Gujarati.
11.11 am: BJP’s Jayesh Radadia wins from Jetpur in Patidar-dominated Rajkot district, reports ETV Gujarati. Two weeks before the election, many rural Patidars in Jetpur had claimed they were leaning towards the Congress.
11.06 am: Independent candidate Jignesh Mevani is leading by 10,785 in Vadgam, according to ANI.
11.05 am: BJP candidate Ramsinh Parmar is trailing in Kheda district’s Thasra constituency. Parmar is Amul’s district chairperson and had defected from the Congress.
10.57 am: The BJP is leading in 100 seats while the Congress in 69, according to the Election Commission. The Nationalist Congress Party is ahead in one seat while the Bharatiya Tribal Party is leading in two. Independent candidates are leading in three seats.
10.55 am: BJP’s Vijay Rupani is leading by 21,000 votes from Rajkot West, according to ANI.
10.53 am: The Congress is leading in Mehsana district’s Visnagar constituency, a BJP bastion since 1967.
10.50 am: Congress candidate Lalit Vasoya, the Saurashtra convener of Hardik Patel’s Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, is leading in Dhoraji, according to Gujarati news channels. It is another Patidar-dominated constituency.
10.45 am: Congress is leading in Mehsana’s Unjha constituency, which has been the BJP’s stronghold since 1972. Unjha is dominated by Kadwa Patels, and has been one of the main hubs of the Patidar agitation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthplace, Vadnagar, falls within the Unjha constituency.
10.36 am: BJP’s Rakesh Shah has won the Ellisbridge constituency in Ahmedabad by 71,000 votes, reports TV9 Gujarati.
10.25 am: The BJP is leading in Surat city’s Varaccha constituency where Hardik Patel’s PAAS has been very active in the past few months.
10.18 am: The Congress is leading in Ahmedabad city’s Patidar-dominated Bapunagar constituency, according to TV9 Gujarati. In August 2015, after the rioting that followed Patidar leader Hardik Patel’s mega rally, there was large-scale police atrocities on local residents in Bapunagar.
10.10 am: Senior Congress leader and Amreli MLA Paresh Dhanani is poised for a win again, reports TV9 Gujarati.
10.00 am: The BJP is leading in 83 seats while the Congress in 62 seats, according to the Election Commission. The Nationalist Congress Party is ahead in one seat while the Bharatiya Tribal Party and independent candidates are leading in two seats each.
9.54 am: News18 called the Gujarat election results in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
9.52 am: The BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty opened lower on Monday. Later, the Sensex made some gains, and was trading 146.59 points lower at at 33,316.38.
9.50 am: Congress is leading in Una, where the assault on four Dalit leather tanners in July 2016 led to an unprecedented wave of protests across the state, according to TV9 Gujrati.
9.46 am: Vijay Rupani leading by 7,600 votes from Rajkot West at the end of third round of counting, reported ANI.
9.43 am: “The mood of the people of Gujarat will lead Congress to victory, can’t comment much on initial trends; let the final results come,” state party in charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot told ANI.
9.40 am: OBC leader and Congress candidate Alpesh Thakor is leading by 3,150 votes in Radhanpur, reports TV9 Gujrati.
9.39 am: The BJP is leading in 65 seats while the Congress in 56 seats, according to the Election Commission. Both the Nationalist Congress Party and the Bharatiya Tribal Party are ahead in one seat each.
9.37 am: Janata Dal (United) leader Chhotubhai Vasava, who has held the ST-reserved constituency of Jhagadia since 1990, is trailing.
9.35 am: BJP is leading in 92 constituencies while the Congress is leading in 83, says ETV Gujarati.
9.34 am: Vijay Rupani is leading by 1,800 votes from Rajkot West, according to ANI.
9.20 am: The BJP is leading in 37 seats while the Congress is ahead in 30 seats, according to the Election Commission.
9.15 am: Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is trailing by 1,100 votes, according to TV9 Gujarati. BJP’s Gujarat chief Jitu Vaghani is also trailing in Bhavnagar West. BJP is also trailing in Sanand, the constituency where farmers had been protesting a violent police crackdown on their rally demanding Narmada canal water in February.
9.04 am: The Congress is leading in 13 seats and the BJP in 10 seats, according to the Election Commission.
9.00 am: Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who was trailing in Mehsana constituency, is now leading, according to TV9 Gujarati. Mehsana has been one of the main centres of the Patidar agitation.
8.55 am: The BJP is leading in six seats and the Congress in three seats, according to the Election Commission.
8.49 am: Local channels reported that the BJP is already leading in 93 constituencies, thus crossing the halfway mark.
8.23 am: Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti said there can be no tampering with the EVMs. “VVPATs were there in every polling stations in Gujarat, which enabled voters to see whom they voted for, so issues being raised aren’t right,” he said, according to ANI.
8.16 am: Early trends show the BJP is leading in three seats, according to NDTV.
8.11 am: Counting have begun amid tight security arrangements.
7.53 am: Exit polls have projected a comfortable victory for the BJP. All the major polls predicted more than 100 seats for the saffron party, meaning they will cross the halfway mark of 92. An average of the major exit polls’ seat projections suggests the BJP will actually better its 2012 performance, adding two seats, while the Congress will be 53 seats behind it.
7.47 am: Votes will be counted at 37 centres across Gujarat’s 33 districts.