Modi set for hat-trick in Gujarat, Congress in Himachal
The BJP was leading in 118 of the 182 seats in Gujarat while Congress was ahead in 59. Former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel's GPP on which the Congress hoped to defeat Modi fared very badly.
The NCP and JDU were leading in one seat each. In the last elections in 2007, the BJP had won 117 seats and Congress 59.
However, the party was set for a debacle in Himachal Pradesh, a state which has stuck to its habit of voting out an incumbent government.
The Congress, which put up a spirited campaign under former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, is all set to return to power in the hill state. The party has already won two seats and was leading in 35 seats in the 68-member Assembly.
BJP was leading in 23 seats and has won two seats. 'Others' led in four seats having won in one. Congress had won 23 seats and BJP 41 in the 2007 polls.
The BJP's hat-trick in retaining power in Gujarat added grist to political mill speculating on Modi becoming the party's PM candidate in the next Lok Sabha elections.
BJP MP Smriti Irani openly declared that Modi is her Prime Ministerial candidate. However, the party was cautious to comment on the issue. Suspended MP Ram Jethmalani said that the victory has "definitely" strengthened Modi's contention for being the PM candidate.