Cong sweeps rural Gujarat; BJP retains its urban hold

RSTV Bureau
FILE: Ahemdabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel during a road show for Municipal Corporation Elections in Ahmedabad, November, 2015. Photo - PTI

FILE: Ahemdabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel during a road show for Municipal Corporation Elections in Ahmedabad, November, 2015.
Photo – PTI

Congress party made a substantial comeback in Gujarat politics gaining a major ground in the civic polls, especially in the rural areas. As per the latest count, BJP has retained all six urban Municipal Corporations, while Congress party has won at least 20 out of 31 District Panchayats. It is a big set-back for the ruling BJP, which had held 30 District Panchayats before it went to the polls.

Lifted by their success in the state long ruled by the BJP at all tiers, the Congress party has termed its performance as “verdict against BJP government”.

“Great news in Gujarat Civic Polls. Congress wins 20 out of 31 Zila Panchayats (District Panchayat) and in fight on another 5. Congrats to 6.5 crore Gujaratis!” Congress party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wrote on a micro-blogging site Twitter.

“Gujarat Civic Polls. CM Anandiben Patel loses her own Block Panchayat of Bhauchraji, District Mehsana. Hats off to people and Congress workers,” Surjewala added.

These civic polls were dubbed as a ‘litmus test’ for the BJP-led state government in the light of the ‘reservation stir’ by Patidar sub-community and the arrest of their leader Hardik Patel.

FILE: Ahmedabad: Patidar community leader Hardik Patel leading a rally for reservation in Ahmedabad on August 25, 2015, Photo - PTI

FILE: Ahmedabad: Patidar community leader Hardik Patel leading a rally for reservation in Ahmedabad on August 25, 2015, Photo – PTI

Meanwhile, the BJP held on its urban strongholds winning all the six municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamangar and Bhavnagar. As per the latest information, the ruling party is also leading in 34 out of 56 Municipalities, while Congress could add just three more to its earlier tally of six.

But the Opposition party has made a big dent in BJP’s rural strongholds and going by the latest figures, it is in for an impressive result. In 230 Taluka Panchayats having a total of 4778 seats, the Congress is leading in 2204 while BJP is ahead in 1798.

Elated over the trend, state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said, “This is a mini-election of sorts for the state, where Congress is winning in majority (rural) areas. This is a verdict against the state government.”

On the other hand, incumbent Chief Minister Anandiben Patel is slated to address her party workers in Ahmedabad later in the evening.

Voting for six municipal corporations was held on November 22, while that for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities on November 29. Though voting for six municipal corporations was as low as 45 per cent, in other semi-urban and rural bodies it was over 60 per cent.

(With inputs from the PTI)