BJP trounces Opposition in Gandhinagar polls, bags 41 out of 44 seats

In the GMC, the Congress could win only two seats and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) bagged a solitary seat.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) registered a landslide victory in the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) polls, counting for which was held on Tuesday. The saffron party won 41 of the total 44 seats. The saffron party also won two of the three municipalities in the state where general/mid-term elections were held. For the decimated Congress, the only consolation was the victory in the Bhanvad municipality, which it snatched from the BJP.

In the GMC, the Congress could win only two seats and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) bagged a solitary seat.

Following the landslide victory, newly appointed Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel reached the state party headquarters to congratulate BJP workers. An elated state BJP president CR Paatil said, “We have notched up historic results in the elections to the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation and in other regions of Gujarat as well. It once again proves that people of Gujarat have full confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi… Voters in the state capital have again reposed faith in the BJP and the party will honour the trust of the electorate.”

These were the first major elections in Gujarat after the formation of the new government under Bhupendra Patel.

The state party president said that the people of Gandhinagar and Gujarat have “welcomed” Patel with the “historic victory”. Notably, the last two GMC polls were closely fought between the BJP and the Congress.

Paatil also took a dig at the AAP and said: “There is no space for a third party in Gujarat. The prudent voters of Gujarat know very well which party will safeguard the interests of the state and that of the nation. I salute them.”

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel congratulated the party workers but said that Paatil was asking him why the BJP could not win the remaining three GMC seats. “So, one should understand it very well that we have to keep a target of winning all 182 seats in the next assembly polls.”

The former national president of BJP’s youth wing and the current party in-charge of Anand district, Amit Thaker, attributed the landslide victory to the guidance provided by Paatil. Notably, Thaker was also the party in-charge for the GMC elections.

“The micro-level planning, effective social media campaign and the use of slogans like Mara Modi Damdaar, Kamal Nu Button Dabavo Chaar Vaar (My Modi Strong, Push the Lotus Button Four Times), helped us to win the polls. The party’s strategy to adopt a no-repeat policy in the allocation of tickets also worked wonders,” Thaker said.

When asked about the importance of the victory in Gandhinagar for the party, Thaker replied, “In the first GMC elections, we had lost. In the second, we were tied with the Congress. Now, we have got this huge victory. This victory will give confidence to the workers that the target of winning 182 assembly seats was indeed achievable.”

Incidentally, the first GMC elections were held in April 2011. The Congress had narrowly won that election. In 2016, the GMC had a total 32 seats and there was a tie between the Congress and the BJP, with both the parties winning 16 seats each. However, Congress councillor Pravin Patel defected to the BJP, allowing the saffron party to form the board. The number of seats has now increased to 44 after 18 seats along the periphery of the state capital were brought under the GMC through a delimitation exercise.

This time, the general elections to the GMC were supposed to be held in April. However, the polls were postponed to October owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Apart from the GMC, the Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) had also organised general or mid-term elections to three municipalities and held by-elections for vacant seats in two municipal corporations (three seats), 39 municipalities (45 seats), seven district panchayats (eight seats) and 48 taluka panchayats (45 seats).

The BJP won two – Okha in Devbhumi Dwarka district and Tharad in Banaskantha district – of the three municipalities. In Okha, BJP won 34 of 36 seats. Whereas in Tharad, the saffron party won 20 of 24 seats. The only consolation for the Congress was Bhanvad municipality in Devbhumi Dwarka district, where it won 16 of the total 24 seats.

In the by-elections for three seats in two municipal corporations, two seats of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation were won by the BJP and the one seat in Junagadh went to the Congress.

Of the 45 municipality seats where bypolls were conducted, the BJP won as many as 37 seats and the Congress could win only one seat. Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) won one seat in Bharuch nagarpalika and independents won four seats.

The BJP won five and the Congress got three of the eight seats in the seven district panchayats where by-elections were held.

The saffron party won 28, the Congress won 14 and the AAP could manage to win three of the 45 taluka panchayat seats.

In the GMC elections held on Sunday, the voter turnout was an average 56.24%.

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