Gujarat’s ruling BJP on Tuesday lost control of the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC), with both the BJP and the Congress winning 16 seats each in the 32-member body.
But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) put up a better showing in rural areas spread across five districts, winning seven of the 10 taluka panchayat seats.
The BJP had 18 seats in the outgoing Gandhinagar body but won two less this time, ensuring a tie. A total of 78,247 of the 150,610 electorate had voted on Sunday.
The Congress had won 18 seats to win the first elections to the Gandhinagar civic corporation five years ago when Narendra Modi was chief minister. The BJP got 15 seats, and the body then had 33 seats.
But the Congress lost power midway when three members defected to the BJP, taking its strength to 18 from 15.
Gandhinagar and Junagadh were the only two corporations out of eight where the Congress had won a majority.
Gandhinagar Mayor Mahendrasinh Rana, who had defected to the BJP, lost the election by just 60 votes to Pravin Patel ‘Quality’ of Congress who had switched over from the BJP.
With both parties having 16 seats each, it is unclear who will get to rule Gandhinagar.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Nishit Vyas, a Gandhinagar resident, told IANS: “The results show that though the BJP snatched power from us in Gandhinagar, it could not retain its manufactured majority.
“Ironically, their Mayor who had defected to BJP along with two others has himself lost. The people have shown you can’t last long with deceit.”
Gujarat BJP president Vijay Rupani countered: “The results are better than last time when our party won 15 out of 33 seats. Now we have 16 seats of 32 seats.
“Also, we have won seven taluka panchayat seats, of which we had only one earlier. This shows the BJP enjoys popularity in both urban and rural areas.”
He pointed out that a Kheda district panchayat seat that the BJP had won had been with the Congress for 30 years.