The Congress on Wednesday took the lead in several district and taluka panchayats in the Gujarat civic polls, with counting still underway. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was ahead in the corporations and municipalities, though it had held almost all the local bodies in the last elections. This could be seen as something of a setback for the BJP in Prime Minister Modi’s home state. The election is considered crucial given that the Patel quota agitation might have a significant effect on its results, and it is Chief Minister Anandiben Patel’s first major political battle. The Patel leaders had vowed to vote for the Congress and against Anandiben Patel and Modi’s BJP.
As initial figures came in, the Congress had moved ahead in nine out of 31 district panchayats, while the BJP was leading in just four of them. The BJP leads and hopes to retain all six municipal corporations – Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar and Vadorara. While the BJP is doing well in all 56 municipalities, the Congress is surging ahead in the 230 talukas, PTI reported. The turnout was less than 45% for the municipal corporations, but more than 60% for the semi-urban and rural bodies.