The BJP on Thursday upstaged the ruling Congress to pass its first test of popularity after the Delhi assembly poll drubbing by winning almost half the 702 wards under 72 municipal bodies in Assam. The civic polls were held on Monday.
“The BJP has so far attained majority in 38 municipal bodies, the Congress in 17, the Asom Gana Parishad in two and NCP in one,” state election commissioner Harendra Nath Bora told HT.
He added results in two municipal boards – Silchar and Golaghat – were awaited. The result in four municipal bodies was tied between BJP and Congress while in 10 others no party had majority.
Till the time of reporting, the BJP had won 340 wards, the Congress 232, AGP 39, All India United Democratic Front won 8, NCP had won 4, Bodoland People’s Front and CPI-M one each while independents bagged 77.
BJP’s state unit president Siddharth Bhattacharyya said the party was happy with the result, though the scoreline could have been better. “This election will set the tone for the 2016 assembly polls,” he said.
Local leaders said the party had set sights on 450 wards, but the party’s vision document (for Delhi polls) gaffe of labelling people from the northeast living in Delhi as immigrants, played spoilsport.
Most of the wards the Congress lost were under the assembly constituencies of dissidents who sought, in vain, the removal of chief minister Tarun Gogoi. The BJP nudged the Congress out of Gogoi’s hometown Jorhat, but the chief minister was saved the blushes at Titabor, his pet constituency.
The civic polls dealt another blow to the AGP, which has been struggling to revive itself since losing the 2001 assembly election.