Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas, the face of the Narendra Modi government in TV debates, was among the five ministers who bit the dust on Thursday in the Gujarat Assembly polls which also saw the shock defeat of two Congress heavyweights--Arjun Modhwadia and Shaktisinh Gohil.
Vyas, also the spokesperson of the Gujarat government, was humbled by Balvantsinh Rajput of Congress for the Siddhpur assembly seat in Patan district by 25,824 votes.
Vyas had defeated Rajput in the 2007 Assembly elections by a margin of 2,429 votes. However, delimitation considerably dented his prospects to clinch a consecutive win.
The defeat of three ministers of Cabinet rank and two junior ministers came even as Modi led the party for an emphatic victory for the third consecutive time.
Agriculture Minister Dileep Sanghani went down to Congress' Paresh Dhanani by a margin of 29,893 votes for Amreli seat while Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Fakirbhai Vaghela lost to Congress' Jethabhai Vaghela by 22,839 votes from Vadgam in Banaskantha district.
Among junior ministers, Minister of State for Forest and Environment Kiritsinh Rana put up a brave fight but ultimately lost to sitting Congress MP Soma Ganda by a margin of 1,561 votes for Limbdi seat in Surendranagar district.
Minister of State for Agriculture Kanubhai Bhalala was trounced by none other than Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) president Keshubhai Patel from Visavadar constituency by a margin of 42,186 votes.
The defeat of Modhvadia, the President of the Gujarat unit of the Congress, and Gohil, Leader of the Opposition, dealt a huge blow to the Congress.
Modhwadia, seeking third consecutive term from Porbandar constituency, was defeated by his BJP rival Babu Bokhiria by 17,146 votes. He had spearheaded a sustained and aggressive campaign against the ruling party.
Modhwadia had won 2002 and 2007 polls from this constituency. He had defeated Bokhiria in the last elections. He has since quit his post owing moral responsibility for the defeat of Congress in the elections.
Gohil, contesting from Bhavnagar rural seat, lost to his arch BJP rival and Minister of State for Fisheries Purshottam Solanki by 18,554 votes.
Another key Congress leader Shankarinsh Vaghela, however, tasted victory though by a slender margin. He won from Kapadwanj in Kheda district by 6,597 votes defeating his BJP rival Kanubhai Dabhi.
Vaghela, a former chief minister, was the head of Gujarat Congress campaign committee for the assembly elections.