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GANDHINAGAR: In a major setback to the Congress, the ruling BJP wrested the Kathlal Gujarat Assembly seat from the Congress by a margin of 21,547 votes in a by-election on Friday.
The victory was hailed as a birthday gift for Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who turned 61 on Friday.
It is the first time that the BJP has won the Kathlal seat in Kaira district in central Gujarat since the formation of the Assembly in 1960.
Kanubhai Dabhi polled 62,120 votes against 40,573 votes secured by his Congress rival, Ghelabhai Jhala.
Mr. Modi took the opportunity to lambast the Congress. He said it was “the people's victory over the vote bank politics of the Congress and its joining hands with the CBI to defeat the BJP.” He said the people of Kathlal had stood for the developmental politics of the BJP and had given a fitting reply to the Congress' “negative attitude.”
District Congress president Ramsinh Parmar, however, attributed the BJP's victory to “large scale misuse of the official machinery” in the constituency.
The by-election held on Monday was caused by the death of the sitting Congress member, Gautambhai Jhala.
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