Ahmedabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday swept local body polls in Gujarat, a day after a convincing win in neighbouring Maharashtra. The victory in the state, home to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, is seen as support for the recent demonetisation of high-value currency notes.
The party won 107 out of total 123 seats which went to polls. The party had a clean sweep in elections held in two municipalities and one taluka panchayat. Besides, it won with a huge majority in by-elections held in 11 municipalities, seven district panchayats and 15 taluka panchayat seats.
Stating that the government’s development work and good governance had ensured the party’s win, chief minister Vijay Rupani hailed the victory as people’s endorsement of Prime Minister’s demonetisation move and the surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC).
“I salute people of Gujarat for continued trust in BJP. BJP’s great win in local polls shows people’s strong faith in development politics. These results across India illustrate that people want all-round progress of the nation and will not tolerate corruption and misgovernance," Modi tweeted.
After the demonetisation earlier this month, the BJP has won by-polls in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In Maharashtra, BJP emerged as the single largest party, winning the largest number of seats in municipal council polls. Talking about the election results in various parts of the country including Gujarat, Modi tweeted these results across India “illustrate that people want all-round progress of the nation and will not tolerate corruption and misgovernance."
BJP celebrated its victory in various parts of Gujarat by taking out ‘Vijay Yatras’ or victory processions. In the last one year, the Gujarat government has faced protests from the powerful and influential Patel community and from the Dalit community and Tuesday’s victory is important for Rupani who was named the new chief minister of the state earlier in August this year, replacing Anandiben Patel.
As per the final results declared by the Gujarat State Election Commission, BJP won in Rajkot where it bagged the Gondal taluka panchayat, which was held by Congress and went for mid-term poll. BJP won 18 out of total 22 seats here. BJP won its Vapi municipality of Valsad district by bagging 41 out of 44 seats. Vapi municipality was held by BJP earlier too. Congress won three seats here.
In Kanakpur-Kansad municipality of Surat, BJP got a clean sweep, capturing 27 out of 28 seats, leaving only one to Congress.
Apart from these three elections, by-elections were held for 29 seats of various municipalities, taluka panchayats and district panchayats.
Of the total 16 seats in different municipalities, BJP bagged 14 while Congress settled for only two. Out of the total four seats of district panchayats, both parties bagged two each. In the taluka panchayat by-polls, BJP won on five out of nine seats while Congress could capture only four.
While conceding defeat, a Congress spokesperson said the party will work harder to serve the people of the state. He said the BJP must remember that in many seats, it was only by-polls and must not be seen as a precursor to the state assembly elections to be held next year in December. Doshi said the Congress has always raised issues concerning people like notes ban and will continue to do so.