Municipal Body Polls: Lotus Blooms Across Gujarat, While AAP Makes Surprise Gains And Congress Implodes

Municipal Body Polls: Lotus Blooms Across Gujarat, While AAP Makes Surprise Gains And Congress ImplodesBJP workers ecstatic after the victory.
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  • The credit for the BJP’s victory goes to a variety of factors, but importantly, the role played by newly-appointed BJP state president, CR Patil, is worthy of mention.

The municipal corporation elections in six cities of Gujarat were held last Sunday and the counting of votes began on 23 February. The results show a fabulous performance by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), where, despite being an incumbent, the party has managed to improve upon its performance in the last elections and retain power in all six municipal corporations.

In the last elections of 2015, BJP won 142 of the 192 seats in Ahmedabad. In Surat, its tally reached 80. In Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar, BJP won on 58, 38, 34 and 34 seats respectively.

At the time of writing this article, in total, BJP succeeded in winning over 390 seats of the 572 across all six corporations. The Congress got around 175 seats and the rest were taken by others.

Gujarat local body poll results (not final).
Gujarat local body poll results (not final).

If we take a look at the results declared up to this time, BJP can be seen recording an overwhelming victory. In Ahmedabad, the party won 165 seats of the 190 (total 192) seats, while Congress got reduced to just 16 seats. Others got nine.

Whereas in Surat, Congress failed to win a single seat and BJP improved its tally from 79 to win 93 seats. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) managed to win 27 seats here.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s native place, Rajkot, gave an overwhelming majority to the BJP, where the party won 68 of the 72 seats, while the Congress had to satisfy itself with just four seats.

If we talk about Vadodara, then, BJP has improved here as well and from a score of 58 in the last elections, it hit 69 this time. Congress won just seven seats.

In Jamnagar, BJP won 50 of the 65 seats, Congress got 11 and BSP recorded a win in three. In Bhavnagar, BJP coloured 44 of the 52 seats with saffron, while Congress lost "hands-down" (8 seats).

In total, BJP has won 489 of the declared 574 (total 576) seats. Congress has been reduced to 46 and others marshalled 39 (AAP, AIMIM, BSP and others) seats.

And the credit goes to?

The credit for BJP’s victory goes to a lot of factors. But a few of them need special mention, among which I would first like to speak of the newly appointed BJP President, CR Patil. After taking the reins of the organisation, he gave the party a new life.

As state party president, he ensured BJP won all the eight seats in the Gujarat Assembly by-polls. He recruited many into the organisation and gave preference to young faces in the elections, which have paid rich dividends.

BJP has been in power in Gujarat for 27 years, but still, a factor called anti-incumbency cannot be seen or heard anywhere, emphasising the point that the people of the state wholeheartedly acknowledge the development works done by the government of the day.

Patil reactivated page presidents and page committees, which were kept in limbo for years, and reached out to each and every booth. This resulted in people still coming out to vote for the BJP, despite the elections facing a low voter turnout.

AAP enters, Congress vanishes

It should be noted that when the Congress used to be the Opposition, its vote share ranged between 35-40 per cent. This time, AAP has cut into the votes that used to go to the Congress.

Before the elections, the PAAS (Patidar Anamat Aandolan Samiti) was supporting the Congress, but at the last moment, when it found that the people of its choice didn’t get tickets, it started supporting the AAP.

As a result, AAP managed to win 27 seats, while the Congress couldn’t win even one in Surat. But it should be noted here that despite these factors, BJP increased its seats from 79 to 93.

Gujarat’s importance

As we all know, Gujarat is the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, which makes BJP’s victory in Gujarat all the more important.

If BJP can strengthen itself in Gujarat, it can strengthen itself across the country — and the party organisation has managed to achieve this in these elections with aplomb.

Dhaval Patel is a project management consultant based out of Surat. He has an interest in Bollywood, the entertainment industry, politics and public policy.

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