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BJP heads towards big victory in second phase of Gujarat local body polls

Following its clean sweep in the first phase last month, BJP won all 31 district panchayats, 70 out of 81 municipalities and was way ahead of Congress in 231 taluka panchayats.

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Ahmedabad: The BJP won all 31 district panchayats, 70 out of 81 municipalities and was far ahead of main rival Congress in 231 taluka panchayats as counting for the second phase of local body polls in Gujarat was underway on Tuesday.

The success follows the BJP’s clean sweep in elections for six municipal corporations in the first phase last month.

In the second phase of elections for which counting began at 9 in the morning, the BJP had won 6,110 out of 8,261 seats for which results had been announced by the State Election Commission by evening.

A total of 8,474 seats were up for grabs in the second phase across district and taluka panchayats and municipal councils. Elections were held on February 28.

The Congress was trailing far behind, winning 1,768 seats and only three municipalities so far. It could not win a single district panchayat, but was leading in a few taluka panchayats.

The Aam Aadmi Party, a new entrant, has won 42 seats while independents have bagged 286 seats so far.

As BJP headed for a massive victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the results showed that Gujarat remains firmly with the party’s agenda of development and good governance.

“Results of the Nagar Palika, Taluka Panchayat and District Panchayat polls across Gujarat give a crystal clear message — Gujarat is firmly with the BJP’s agenda of development and good governance.

“I bow to the people of Gujarat for the unwavering faith and affection towards BJP,” he said in a tweet.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted that “people in rural parts of Gujarat and farmers have made the BJP victorious and put a seal of trust on the welfare policies of the government in local body polls in Gujarat.”

“I bow to the masses,” Shah said, congratulating Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, deputy CM Nitin Patel and state BJP chief C R Paatil as well as party workers for “the grand victory”.

Out of 8,474 seats, candidates on 237 seats remained unopposed, said the State Election Commission.

Voter turn-out for polls to municipalities was 59.05 per cent, 66.67 percent for district panchayats, and 66.86 percent for taluka panchayats.

Byelections were also held for two seats in taluka panchayats and 24 seats in municipalities.

The BJP had won all the six municipal corporation bodies for which elections were held in the first phase on February 21.

Hailing the “unprecedented” victory of the party, chief minister Rupani said the BJP has won convincingly in the entire state, be it the tribal belt, Saurasthra or in Central, North and South Gujarat, while the Congress has been almost wiped out.

“The results of the polls have proved that Gujarat was the stronghold of the BJP…it is the stronghold of the BJP, and it will remain the stronghold of the BJP,” he said.

“The people have told the Congress party that they are not good enough to be in power and also not good enough to remain even in Opposition,” Rupani told reporters in Gandhinagar.

On the AAP’s performance, Rupani said winning a few out of thousands of seats did not matter.

“Even Independent candidates have won more seats than the Arvind Kejriwal-led party,” he said.

The results of local body polls come as a boost for Rupani ahead of 2022 Assembly elections.

Questions had been raised about his leadership when the BJP scraped through in the 2017 Assembly polls.

State BJP chief Paatil noted that the people had not given the party so many seats in 2015 local body elections, “but in 2021 the people have returned their love with interest”.


Also read: Arvind Kejriwal visits Surat to ‘thank’ voters for AAP’s performance in civic polls


 

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