The BJP swept all the six municipal corporations of Gujarat as the saffron party put up its best-ever performance in two decades in the civic polls by winning 483 of the total 576 seats (83.85%), leaving the main opposition Congress in tatters. The BJP had won 68.18% of the total seats in the previous municipal elections held in 2015.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made a stunning debut in the state's electoral politics by winning as many as 27 of the total120 seats in Surat, virtually stamping out the Congress from the civic body.
In Ahmedabad, another debutant Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party made a memorable launch winning seven seats in minority dominated areas which were all bastions of Congress. There were seldom any burning issues this election unlike the 2015 polls that were marked by bellicose Patidar and Dalit stirs. The elections were, however, held under the shadow of coronavirus pandemic that left nearly 260,000 infected and claimed around 4,406 lives in Gujarat since March last year.
The landslide is significant as the bickering-infested Congress was banking on the job losses and overall business gloom after the Covid-induced lockdown, besides the recent fuel price hike.
The BJP's stupendous win has ensured four cities namely Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar will not have an opposition as no other party has won 10% of total seats needed to qualify to be the opposition. Only Surat will have AAP as opposition and Congress in Ahmedabad.
The most decisive victory for BJP was in chief minister Vijay Rupani's home town Rajkot where it won 68 out of the total 72 seats. In 2015, BJP had scored just one seat more than the majority 37 required.
BJP sweeps local body elections
The BJP recorded a massive victory in the local body polls in the state by winning clear majority in all 31 district panchayats as well as in 196 out of 231 taluka panchayats and 74 out of 81 municipalities. The Congress, the main opposition party in the state, won a clear majority in only one municipality and 18 taluka panchayats, while AIMIM and AAP also made their presence felt.
In six municipalities and 15 taluka panchayats no party has got clear majority. In the second phase where polling was held for district and taluka panchayats as well as municipalities on February 28, the BJP again left the Congress far behind by winning 6,236 out of 8,470 seats for which results were declared. The position was not yet clear on four remaining seats. The Congress could win 1,805 seats, while the new entrants Aam Aadmi Paty (AAP) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) won 42 and 17 seats, respectively.
Meanwhile, Congress state unit president Amit Chavda and Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani resigned from their posts. Chavda said people had raised doubts about EVMs and all these things should be probed. After the Grand Old Party’s dismal performance, a party spokesperson said it was now up to the top brass of the Congress to decide the future course of action.