Gujarat Assembly Elections: ‘We gave tough fight to BJP,’ says AAP state president Gopal Italia
The AAP's Gujarat unit chief, who contested from the Katargam Assembly seat in Surat district, suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the BJP
Ahmedabad: The Aam Adami Party has made an "impressive entry' into the Bharatiya Janata Party's bastion of Gujarat, giving a "tough fight" to the ruling outfit in the just concluded Assembly polls, state AAP president Gopal Italia said on Thursday. The Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit contested 181 out of the total 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat but ended up winning just five seats on Thursday, securing about 13 per cent vote share. Italia termed the AAP's win in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state as a "victory of Kejriwal's politics of honesty" and vowed to make the party a "formidable challenger" of the BJP in Gujarat in the coming years. "It's a historic day as the Aam Adami Party today made an impressive entry into Gujarat, the BJP stronghold. We gave a tough fight to the rival and won five seats. It's a revolution in Gujarat and victory of Arvind Kejriwal's honest politics," he said at a press conference in Surat.
The AAP's Gujarat unit chief, who contested from the Katargam Assembly seat in Surat district, suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the BJP. BJP candidate Vinod Moradia, a minister in the outgoing government, defeated Italia by a margin of more than 64,000 votes. Ahead of voting, AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal had asserted that Italia will emerge victorious from Katargam along with his party's CM face Isudan Gadhvi and candidate Alpesh Kathiriya from Khambhalia and Varachha, respectively, but his prediction failed. During campaigning, the Delhi chief minister even gave in writing at an event in Surat predicting victory of these three candidates of his party by a 'huge margin" of votes.
But, BJP nominee Mulubhai Bera defeated Gadhvi by a margin of more than 18,000 votes in Khambhalia. Kathiriya, a prominent leader of the 2015 Patidar quota stir in Gujarat, was trounced by the BJP's sitting legislator Kisorebhai Kanani from Varachcha by a difference of more than 16,000 votes. On his defeat and that of colleagues Kathiriya and Gadhvi, Italia said, "I want to say that the country's smallest party (AAP) has given a strong fight against the world's biggest party (BJP) and for this I congratulate everyone." He claimed more than 40 lakh electors voted in favour of AAP candidates across Gujarat in the elections held in two phases on December 1 and December 5. Votes were counted on December 8.
"I want to assure you that we will work hard and meet the aspirations of people who reposed their faith in us and voted in favour of our candidates, making the AAP a national party," Italia said. He attributed the AAP's victory in five Assembly constituencies to the "hard work" of leaders and workers of the 10-year-old outfit. "For the first time, we have fought the Assembly elections in a well-managed and organised way. The AAP has become an experienced party now. The Aam Adami Party is the future of Gujarat," Italia said. He said the party would review its poll strategy and take corrective measures to ensure it emerges as a formidable challenger to the ruling BJP in the next Assembly elections in Gujarat. "We will take our message to the masses more efficiently," said the AAP leader.