BJP loses most temple towns

Call it impact of delimitation or an anti-incumbency vote, most pilgrimage towns in Gujarat voted against the BJP. Out of a dozen famous pilgrimage centres in the state, Congress bagged six seats, Gujarat Parivartan Party one, while Bhartiya Janata Party got the rest.

The biggest upset for the BJP has come from Somnath and Ambaji (Danta) from where Chief Minister Narendra Modi launched and ended his election campaign. However, it secured Becharaji where Modi launched the Swami Vivekananda yatra.

The Somnath seat slipped away from BJP's Rajsi Jotva to Congress's Jasa Barad with a margin of 2,096 votes. In the previous election in 2007, the result was reverse with Jotva winning it against Barad with a margin of more than 5,000 votes.

Danta constituency, in which Ambaji temple falls, was reserved for Schedule Tribes (ST) for the first time and it was won by Congress's Kantibhai Kharadi who defeated BJP's Gama Kharadi. In 2007, Congress's Mukesh Gadhvi had won this seat with a thumping margin from BJP's Javasinh Solanki.

"Danta (Ambaji) is highly dominated by Schedule Tribes (48.72%) and the seat is reserved for them. Besides, the sitting BJP MLA hadn't done anything and people were angry. Hindutva factor doesn't work here," said Kantibhai Kharadi, the Congress candidate who won the election.

Sidhpur, the constituency which covers the pilgrim town by the same name, was represented by former tourism and health minister Jay Narayan Vyas, who lost to the Congress this time.

This pilgrim centre is known for the Matru shraddh, (paying obeisance to maternal ancestors) like Gaya which is famous for "pitru shraddh". Post delimitation, the configuration of this seat changed. Vyas, who lost this seat Congress's Balwantsinh Rajput by a margin of 25,824 votes had pre-empted his defeat and stepped down from office a day before the declaration of results.

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