The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday won all 31 district panchayats, 70 of 81 municipalities, and had a major lead in 231 taluka panchayats as counting for the second phase of the local body election in Gujarat was under way, reported PTI. Elections were held on February 28.
As per the State Election Commission, there are a total of 8,474 seats across 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats. Of these, 237 seats elected their representatives unopposed, and no form was filled for two seats in taluka panchayat. Thus, elections were held on a total 8,235 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party had fielded 8,161 candidates, Congress 7,778 and the AAP 2,090.
As of Tuesday evening, the BJP had won 6,110 of 8,261 seats, according to PTI. The Congress, meanwhile, had secured only 1,768 seats and three municipalities. The party was leading only in a few taluka panchayats. The Aam Aadmi Party made its poll debut, winning 42 seats while the Independent candidates won in 286 seats.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Results of the Nagar Palika, Taluka Panchayat and District Panchayat polls across Gujarat give a crystal clear message – Gujarat is firmly with the BJP’s agenda of development and good governance. I bow to the people of Gujarat for the unwavering faith and affection towards BJP.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted in Gujarati that “people in rural parts of Gujarat and farmers have made the BJP victorious and put a seal of trust on the welfare policies of the government in local body polls in Gujarat”, according to PTI.
“I bow to the masses,” Shah said in another tweet, and congratulated Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, and state BJP chief CR Paatil as well as party workers for “the grand victory”.
The saffron party retained power in Botad municipality, where it won 24 of the 28 seats that went to polls, The Indian Express reported. The party also won back the Rajkot district panchayat from Congress, winning 26 of the 36 seats on offer. In the last election in 2015, Congress had won 34 of the seats.
The BJP also managed to edge out Congress in a tight fight for the Morbi district panchayat, according to The Indian Express. The party won 10 district panchayats in Saurashtra-Kutch region, where it had won only two panchayats in 2015.
Congress’ Gujarat unit chief Amit Chavda and Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani resigned from their positions, reported PTI. “Taking the responsibility of the election results as state Congress chief, I have submitted my resignation to party president Sonia Gandhi,” he told reporters.
Earlier this month, the ruling BJP swept the six municipal corporation elections in Gujarat, winning 483 out of 576 seats. The AAP also made a mark in Surat after it bagged 27 seats and replaced the Congress as the main Opposition party.