Purnesh Modi of BJP trounced his Congress rival DL Patel by more than 66,000 votes. With this, the ruling party's seat tally has gone up to 120 in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly.
    
Purnesh Modi, who is also Surat city BJP President, bagged 86,061 votes, while Patel, a prominent local leader of Koli Patel community, could garner only 19,769, district election officials said.
    
"The counting is over. Purnesh Modi of BJP has been declared winner by a margin of 66,292 votes over his nearest (Congress) rival," Chief District Election Officer and Surat Collector Jayprakash Shivhare said.
    
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who did not campaign in the constituency - where polling was held on December 4 - as he was busy canvassing in other poll-bound states, congratulated Purnesh Modi on his victory.
    
"Congratulations to Purnesh Modi and BJP karyakartas for grand victory in Surat West by-election. Thanks to voters of Surat," Modi said on microblogging site Twitter. The by-poll was necessitated due to the death of sitting BJP MLA Kishore Vankawala, who won in December 2012 Assembly election.
    
This is the sixth consecutive time that BJP has bagged this urban Assembly segment, where no big leaders from either Congress or the saffron outfit campaigned. A district election official said 2,307 voters exercised the "None Of The Above" (NOTA) option, which was introduced for the first time after a Supreme Court verdict in September this year.

(Agencies)

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