Dent in saffron party’s hold on Gujarat? Congress secures one seat after a decade, INDIA bloc lessens winning margins in at least four districts

An analysis of the 18th Lok Sabha results shows the decreasing hold of BJP in Gujarat in comparison to 2019, vote spitting one of the reasons why Congress lost Patan

On June 4, the results for the 18th Lok Sabha elections were declared. As per the results, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a total of 240 seats in the elections while the opposition INDIA alliance was able to bag 232 seats. Out of these 232 seats, Indian National Congress won a total of 99 seats (the party has since reached a triple digit tally of 100 after Independent Candidate from Sangli joined the party on June 6). The election result has come as a big jolt to the BJP party, who was unable to even cross the majority mark of 272 on its own, a big let-down from the 303 seats it had won in the 2019. More than anything else the exaggerated cries of “400 plus” claimed by party bigwigs came to naught.

This time around, the states that majorly contributed to the seats won by the BJP were Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha. In the state of Gujarat, BJP was able to get 25 out of the total 26 seats, with Congress being able to snatch away one seat – Banaskantha – from the BJP in a neck-and-neck fight. With this, the Congress part was able to halt the saffron party’s attempt to achieve a third consecutive win in all seats on the home turf of PM Modi and erstwhile Union HM Amit Shah. During the elections, one seat had been “declared won” for the BJP in a controversial decision by the Election Commission of India (ECI). This victory without even a contest, was because all contestants had their nominations rejected. A close look at the 25 seats won by the BJP in the “laboratory of Hindutva” shows significant inroads being made by the Opposition INC.

The voting percentage in Gujarat in 2024 was 60.13% as against 64.11% in 2019, while the vote share of BJP reduced to 61.86 per cent from 63.11 per cent in the 2019 elections. The combined vote share of the two INDIA bloc opposition parties, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), stood at 33.93%. Out of this 33.39%, Congress’s vote share was 31.24%. 

 As per poll predictions, a minimum of four seats and upwards of eight seats were being predicted to be won by the Congress Party. It is essential to note that in another parliamentary seat of Gujarat, the Congress party has given a tough fight to the BJP candidate, losing by a small margin of votes at the end of counting. 

In this piece, we will look at the performance of the Congress party candidates in certain districts of Gujarat that they were predicted to win by comparing the vote margins of which they lost in 2024 by that of the year 2019 to determine whether there has been a decrease or increase in vote share. We will also provide the number of Dalit and Muslim candidate that have contested from these seats, a phenomenon that may also have contributed to a vote division.


The OBC dominated seat of Banskantha was won by INC candidate Geniben Nagaji Thakor after defeating BJP’s Rekha Chaudhary by a margin of 30,000 votes. With Thakor’s victory, BJP lost its dream of a sweep all 26 seats in Gujarat for the third straight term. One should also note that Banaskantha has traditionally been a BJP stronghold. As news of her victory went viral, reports had emerged how in 2024, Thakor had, despite facing financial constraints, decided to contest the general elections. Her campaign for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls was crowdfunded after Congress said it was not in a position to financially back its nominees.

It is also essential to note that on the Banaskantha seat, a Muslim Independent candidate, namely Ibrahimbhai Parasani, captured 1591 votes while a Dalit candidate who contested from the Banaskantha seat from the Bahujan Samaj Party did his share of damage. Mansungbhai Mashrubhai Parmar has won a total of 9929 votes. If one adds the votes of the Muslim independent candidate and the BJP Dalit candidate, it can be seen that votes upward of 10,000 had been given to these two. 


Another INC candidate, namely Chandanji Thakor, who was contesting the Patan parliamentary constituency, gave a tough fight to the BJP candidate Bharatsinh Dabhi in this election. It was only in the last few round that the Congress candidate started trailing behind the BJP candidate from Patan, who eventually won with a margin of a relatively small 30,000 votes. As per the ECI data, BJP’s Bharatsinh Dabhi had received 5.84 lakh votes against Chandanji’s 5.54 lakh votes. Notably, voting in Patan had taken place during the third phase of the election on May 7, with a voter turnout of 58.56%.

In the 2019 elections, Dabhi, the sitting MP of Patan, had won with a substantial victory with a margin of 193,879 votes over Congress’ Jagdish Thakor. As is evident, the margin had decreased substantially. It is crucial to highlight that a Dalit candidate, namely Balvant Chhatraliya, had also stood from the Bahujan Samaj Party in 2024 and has got n 5865 votes. In addition to this, a total of four Muslim candidates, three independent and one from the Social Democratic Party of India, had also contested from the Patan seat. These four Muslim candidates had collectively won 10,670 votes. The collective votes of 16,000 votes given to the Dalit and Muslim candidates could have very well cut from the vote share of the Congress candidate. 


In Bharuch, BJP contestant Mansukhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava has won against Chaitarbhai Damjibhai Vasava of the Aam Aadmi Party with a margin of more than 85,000 votes. As per the ECI website, the runners-up AAP candidate got a total of 5,22,461 votes. It is essential to note that while the BJP had retained its seat in the Bharuch district and emerged victorious for the third time, its margin of victory had decreased considerably from 2019. As per the information available, in 2019, Mansukhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava had won with a margin of more than three lakh thirty thousand votes. Notably, both the BJP and AAP candidates contesting the Bharuch seat were tribals. 

From the Bharuch seat, two other tribal candidates had contested. From the Bharat Adivasi Party seat, Dilipbhai Chhotubhai Vasava had contest while Vasava Chetanbhai Kanjibhai had stood from the Bahujan Samaj Party. Both of these candidates had won more than 16 thousand votes. 

Other than the tribal candidates, a total of four Muslim candidates had also contested from the Bharuch seat. All the Muslim candidates and had contested as Independent candidates, collectively winning upwards of 17,000 votes. Thus, these six tribal and Muslim candidates had won more than 33,000 votes, which could have cut down the vote share of the AAP candidate.


In 2024, Chudasama Rajeshbhai Naranbhai of the Bharatiya Janata Party secured a victory on the Junagadh seat by a margin of 1,35,494 votes against the runner-up Congress candidate, Jotva Hirabhai Arjanbhai. The winning margin of the BJP saw a slight drop from 2019, wherein the BJP candidate Chudasama Rajeshbhai Naranbhai had secured a victory with 591,588 votes while the INC candidate Vansh Punjabhai Bhimabhai had stood second with a total of 397,533 votes, losing by 150,211 votes.

It is also essential to note that from the Junagadh seat, a Dalit candidate, namely Makadia Jayantilal Maldebhai, had also contested from the Bahujan Samaj Party, winning a total of 7,282 votes. An Independent Muslim candidate, Aarab Hasam Sumra, had also contested from the Junagadh seat, winning only 694 votes. 


In 2024, Shobhanaben Mahendrasinh Baraiya won from the Sabarkantha Lok Sabha seat after securing 6.77,318 votes against the Congress candidate, who lost by a margin of almost one lakh and fifty thousand votes. The margin between the winning BJP candidate and the runner up INC candidate had reduced drastically from 2019, then the same was of more than two lakh sixty thousand. 

It is also crucial to point out that from the Sabarkantha seat, two Dalit candidates also contested, one independently and one from the Bahujan Samaj Party. The collective votes that Parmar Rameshchandra Nanjibhai (BSP) and Bhavnaba Narendrasinh Parmar (Independent) achieved were 15,426. An independent Muslim candidate, namely Mustakbhai Jamalbhai Sanghani, had also contested and won a total of 3203 votes.


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