The mandate was swift and decisive. The BJP swept Gujarat. Like it did in neighbouring states Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Like it did across much of north India. There was little any commentator could say. The saffron party won all 26 seats in Narendra Modi’s home state this time, as it had done in 2014.
If the respectable show put up by the Congress in the 2017 assembly elections had boosted the party’s hopes, the resounding defeat in the general elections has again brought them to naught. In 2017, the Congress put up a gruelling fight and wrested 81 seats in the state, improving upon its 2012 tally of 61 seats. The BJP, down from 115 to 99, could still comfortably form the government. Come general elections and the Congress was relegated to a position of inconsequence. The victory margins soared above 5 lakh in as many as four constituencies. One is Gandhinagar—once represented by former deputy PM L.K. Advani—from where BJP chief Amit Shah contested. Shah had a lead of more than 5.5 lakh votes against C.J. Chavda of the Congress. Vadodara, one of the two seats Modi contested and won in 2014, is another, with BJP’s Ranjanben Bhatt securing a mammoth win this time. The efforts of Hardik Patel, leader of the Patidar agitation in 2015, who was debarred by the court from contesting, failed to shore up the Congress’s prospects. Patel had joined the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and campaigned widely for the party. In Mahesana, the agitation hotspot, as well as other seats with a sizeable Patidar vote base such as Amreli, Chhota Udaipur, Banaskantha and Anand, the Congress could not make any headway.