Gandhinagar : The ruling BJP had cause to celebrate in Gujarat when it swept the Congress opposition off its feet regaining its foothold, bagging two municipalities, one tehsil panchayat, besides the by-elections in 11 municipality seats, seven district panchayat seats and 15 taluka panchayat seats.
The elections, though abridged, acquired importance because these were seen as a barometer of public opinion on the controversial demonetisation of currency initiated by the BJP headed NDA coalition at the centre on November 8.
The results seemed to be important enough for Prime Minister Modi to “salute the people of Gujarat for their continued trust in the BJP. The great win for the BJP shows the faith of the people in the BJP”, Modisaid.
From the total of the 126 seats in the various local self government bodies in the state where polling was held, BJP had contested 125 and won 109. Prior to the polls, the BJP held 64 of these seats and the Congress 52 seats. The Congress tally now stands reduced to 17.
There are a total of 230 taluka (tehsil) panchayats, 31 district panchayats and 56 municipalities in Gujarat. The BJP controlled 30 of the 31 district panchayats, 191 of the 230 and 47 of the 56 municipalities in the state at the time Narendra Modi left chief ministership to take over as the prime minister in 2014.
However, the ruling BJP suffered a major setback in the November 2015 local self government body elections held in the backdrop of the Patel pro-reservation stir.
In the election results announced on Tuesday, the BJP increased its tally by one taluka panchayat bagging Gondal, winning 18 of the 22 taluka panchayat seats and five of the seven district panchayat seats from here.
In the by-election to 15 seats in the various taluka panchayats of the state, BJP bagged five and the Congress four while those to the remaining seats were postponed for tehnical reasons.
Reacting to the results, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani attributed the victory to the bold steps initiated by the prime minister. “Both Uri strike into Pakistan and demonestisation has received mass approval,” he added.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said that his party accepted the results with all humility and would continue to raise issues of mass concern.