After the drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, the results of polls to the Junagadh Municipal Corporation on Tuesday dented Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s image in his state.
The first polls in the state coming two months after the general elections saw the Congress snatching away a majority of seats in a corporation held by the BJP.
With a strength of 51 councillors, Junagadh, 350 km southwest of Ahmedabad, is the seventh largest corporation in the state. The Congress has won 26 seats while the BJP got 21. The BSP got three seats and one went to an independent. In the outgoing corporation, the BJP had 35 councillors and the Congress 15.
While the state unit of the BJP claims the party's defeat was because of local issues and had nothing to do with Modi's leadership, the Congress —buoyant after the hooch tragedy that gave enough ammunition with which to fire at Modi —said it was a precursor of a wave against Modi.
“More than local factors, it is the rising sentiment among common people who realised that Modi is only deceiving them with false promises and decided to throw them away,” Arjun Modhwadia, state Congress spokesperson told HT.
State BJP general secretary Vijay Rupani said, “We were not able to deliver on some local issues, which led to this defeat. These are only local polls and based on these results, it is wrong to assume that the Congress is gaining or Modi is failing.”
According to Ghanshyam Shah, former JNU professor, “People are dissatisfied with the work done. Money meant for development programmes was seen to be used to welcome Modi."