Ahmedabad: With 41 out of 44 seats, the BJP on Tuesday captured power over Gujarat capital Gandhinagar by winning the municipal corporation polls for the first time, leaving the Congress with an apologetic two seats and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) opening its account with one.
In all, the ruling BJP won 136 out of total 184 seats in the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC), three municipalities, byelections to two Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation seats as well as some district panchayat and taluka (tehsil) panchayat seats. Polling for these seats was held on Sunday.
This is the BJP’s first victory in the GMC. From a panchayat, Gandhinagar was elevated to the status of a municipal corporation in 2010 and the Congress won the first election in 2011 by bagging 18 out of the then 32 seats while the BJP got 14.
Soon after the BJP engineered a split and four councilors, including Mayor Mahendrasinh Rana, defected to the saffron party ushering in the party to power. Similarly, in the next 2016 elections, the BJP and the Congress won 16 each but the former snatched power after a revolt by one C0ngress councilor. This time, the BJP won comprehensively in Gandhinagar.
Out of the three municipalities, the results for which were also declared on Tuesday, the BJP retained Okha in Devbhoomi Dwarka in the Saurashtra region and Thara in north Gujarat’s Banaskantha district, while the Congress snatched Bhanvad municipality in Devbhoomi Dwarka district from the BJP after 25 years.
These elections were the first after a new chief minister, Bhupendra Patel, and a new Cabinet were brought in by the BJP last month.
Reacting to the results, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national BJP chief JP Nadda thanked the people of Gujarat for reposing trust in the party while complimenting the new Chief Minister and State party chief CR Paatil as well as the rank and file.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “The Gandhinagar results have shown what we have been saying all along that the AAP is a B-team of the BJP. In 2016, we had 46.93% of the vote share in GMC against BJP’s 44.76%. Now, the anti-BJP vote has split between the AAP and the Congress -- we got 27% and AAP got around 20%, while BJP has 51%.”
As against this, he said the Congress party won the Bhanvad Municipality after 25 years because it was a straight fight with the BJP. The Congress bagged 16 out of 24 seats here and the rest went to the BJP.
Social and political scientist Hemant Shah says, “The AAP has surely created problems for the Congress, though the latter doesn’t seem to be working hard enough.”
“However, the larger question is if the AAP is concerned about the state of affairs in the country, it should not split anti-BJP votes like this. In any case, the AAP has won just one seat but damaged the Congress party in all the constituencies.”
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