New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led BJP in Gujarat scored a hat-trick in Gujarat and registered a big win while trends reversed in favour of Congress in Himachal Pradesh where it wrested power from the saffron party.
The drums rolled outside the BJP office in Ahmedabad as the trends came in and Modi prepared for a third straight term as chief minister, with speculation mounting over whether he would be the BJP's man for prime minister in 2014.
In Gujarat, the BJP has won 115 seats, two less than the 117 it won last time, missing a two-thirds majority in the 182-member house. The Congress has won 61 seats.
Former BJP chief minister Keshubhai Patel's Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) was left with two seats, including his own.
Modi, who has ruled Gujarat since 2001 and used innovations like 3-D technology to reach out, visited his mother to get her blessings and even his arch-rival Keshubhai Patel after the results were out.
"No need of looking behind, FORWARD! We want infinite energy, infinite courage, infinite patience..." he said on Twitter even before the results were clear.
"Aaj ka CM, 2014 ka PM!" shouted his supporters as if on cue.
"Gujarat's masses have faith in Narendrabhai Modi. When he left home at the age of 17, nobody knew he will reach at such a height.The country needs a PM like Modi who isn't tainted of corruption. We were very happy as in advance we were sure of his victory," said Modi's brother.
The BJP's hat-trick in retaining power in Gujarat added grist to political mill speculating on Modi becoming the party's PM candidate in the next Lok Sabha elections.
"It is a vote for corruption-free good governance and it showed that the people are rejecting Congress," said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.
When asked why Congress is unable to defeat Modi in Gujarat, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said, "Why is Modi not able to defeat us in the country." His remarks came in the backdrop of a section of the BJP projecting Modi as the most prominent prime ministerial candidate of the party in the next Lok Sabha polls.
How did these candidates fare in the polls
Arjun Modhwadia: Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia, seeking third consecutive term from Porbandar constituency, was defeated by his BJP rival Babu Bokhiria by a margin of 17,146 votes. Modhwadia, who had spearheaded a sustained and aggressive campaign against BJP, polled 60,458 votes while Bokhiria secured 77,604 votes. Taking responsibility of defeat, Modhwadia resigned as Gujarat Congress President. He also congratulated CM Narendra Modi for winning.
Keshubhai Patel: Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) leader and former chief minister Keshubhai Patel Thursday won from the Visavadar constituency in the Saurashtra region, officials said. Patel won by about 20,000 votes against his nearest Bharatiya Janata Party rival Kanubhai Bhalala. The Congress had no candidate in Visavadar.
Amit Shah: Amit Shah, former Gujarat minister of state for home and an accused in the Soharabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati staged shootout cases, won from his constituency, officials said.Shah, who contested from Naranpura constituency in Ahmedabad, won by over 30,000 votes. He won the last time from the Sarkhej assembly constituency, with a margin of over 2.50 lakh votes.
Jagruti Pandya: Jagruti Pandya, wife of slain BJP leader, Haren Pandya, locked in a 'revenge' fight in Ellis Bridge seat, is trailing her BJP rival. Pandya's family had blamed Modi for the murder of Haren Pandya, who was twice elected from the seat.
Shweta Bhatt: Narendra Modi defeated Congress' Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended police officer Sanjeev Bhatt. The widely expected victory triggered noisy celebrations by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters.
BJP concedes defeat in HP polls
BJP on Friday conceded defeat in Himachal Pradesh with senior leader Shanta Kumar saying that the party accepted the poll verdict.
"We accept the verdict. All people in the BJP had fought elections together. The people did not vote for us. We accept it," Shanta Kumar, a former Himachal Pradesh chief minister told reporters in Shimla.
BJP candidates seemed to be on the winning track in 26 constituencies compared to 36 of the Congress.
Himachal Pradesh has been a state which has stuck to its habit of voting out an incumbent government.
In 2007, the BJP won 41 seats, the Congress 23, the Bahujan Samaj Party one and independents three. The BSP legislator later joined the BJP.
How did these candidates fare in the polls
Virbhadra Singh: Five-time Congress chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who led the party's campaign in Himachal Pradesh, was Thursday elected to the assembly by a record margin of around 20,000 votes. Election officials said he defeated his Ishwar Rohal of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Shimla (Rural).Virbhadra Singh, widely seen as the chief ministerial candidate, polled 28,892 votes while Rohal got 8,892. Singh said that he had put in his "best efforts" in the polls and it was for Sonia Gandhi to decide the party's Chief Minister.
CM PK Dhumal: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister PK Dhumal today won from the Hamirpur
seat defeating his nearest Congress rival Narinder Thakur by a margin of
over 9,500 votes. Dhumal had won from Bamsan in 2007 by about
30,000 votes but after delimitation his constituency was scrapped and he
had to shift to adjoining constituency of Hamirpur.
Vidya Stokes: At 84, she is the oldest winner in Himachal Pradesh and has won in the assembly elections for the eighth time. Congress veteran Vidya Stokes won Theog seat with a lead of 4,276 votes over her nearest rival, Rakesh Verma of the BJP.