Modi scores a hat-trick, buzz over shift to Delhi

With the Gujarat Assembly results out the bugle for the 2014 general election has finally been sounded. The BJP, led by Narendra Modi, on Thursday virtually scripted history, winning the Gujarat Assembly elections for the fifth time in a row. The electoral triumph was a hat-trick for Mr Modi personally.

Of 182 Assembly berths, the trends till late Thursday night pointed to the BJP getting 115 seats, two less than 2007, and the Congress bagging 61 seats, two more than in the last Assembly poll.
The much-hyped Gujarat Parivartan Party of Keshubhai Patel failed to make any impact, and ended up with just two seats.
The Congress, despite losing on Mr Modi’s home turf, managed to snatch Himachal Pradesh from a faction-ridden BJP, where it swept the polls, winning 36 of 68 Assembly berths, leaving 26 for the BJP and six for others.
With his third consecutive victory, Mr Modi is all set to emerge as the BJP’s face for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Perhaps looking towards New Delhi, Narendra Modi for the first time addressed a victory rally in Ahmedabad in Hindi. He has indicated plans to visit the national capital on December 27.
However, by confining him to 115 seats, Gujarat’s voters did not seem to have given him any clear mandate to play a bigger role nationally. Anything well over 125 seats would have “opened the skies for Modi”, a senior Congress leader felt.
But the Modi victory clearly overshadowed the Congress triumph in Himachal Pradesh. The Gujarat results are being viewed as a referendum on Mr Modi, who could well begin to move to national politics now. Placards with his photographs proclaiming “Hit and Fit for PM” and “Aaj ka PM” have already appeared across Gujarat. Slogans like “desh ka neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho” and “PM, PM” rent the air, as Modi stood up to address a victory rally.
For the first time he apologised for any “mistakes” he may have committed, but he did not explain if this was a reference to the post-Godhra riots in 2002.

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