Explained: How Gujarat voted, BJP tops urban areas, Cong led rural belts
The BJP retained Gujarat for the sixth time. The party was not able to breach the 100 mark and this would call for some soul searching over the next couple of months.
The party's worst showing was in the Saurashtra-Kutch region. It won 23 out of the 54 seats. In 2012 the BJP won five of the 6 seats in the Kutch region and in Saurashtra, it had 30 of the 48 seats. This reversal is quite significant and is a clear indication that the Kathiwadi Patels have gone with the Congress.
The BJP, however, performed well in Surat. This was a region which had become the epicentre of the protest against GST and textile traders had led a 22-day protest. It must be noted here that the textile industries have a large workforce of migrants from Rajasthan, Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The BJP has done well in all these states.
The Congress had staged a "Gabbar Singh" rally in this region. However, the traders ended up backing the BJP. Their business instinct seems to have overcome the GST as the BJP is seen as a party that back industry. Even the diamond industry owners who were affected by GST backed the BJP. Analysts say that this was only due to their loyalty towards Modi.
The Congress took a beating in the urban areas. While many in the region said that they wanted to teach the BJP a lesson, nowhere did they indicate that they would be voting for the Congress In this context one must take a look at the low voter turn out especially in the Patidar areas of Surat. The low voter turns out in Kamrej, Varachha, Katagram, and Karanj was significant. The voter turns out dropped by 7, 6, 4 and 8 percent in these areas respectively.
Ahead of the polls, the Patidar issue was a major one. The voting pattern of the Patidars was however not consistent against the BJP. The highest concentration of the Patels is at Surat, Varachha road, Katagram, and Kamrej. The Patels stuck to the BJP in these areas.
The agrarian districts of Amreli and Morbi, however, backed the Congress where it won all 8 seats. In Dhoraji, a former member of PAAS won on a Congress ticket. The Congress also won in Unjha a constituency that has the largest number of Patels in Mehsana district.