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BJP wins Gujarat municipal polls with reduced tally, Congress gains

Gujarat’s ruling BJP retained power in 47 of the 75 municipalities as opposed to the 59 of 79 municipalities it won in 2013.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2018 08:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
BJP,Cong,Gujarat municipality election
The civic poll results are in a way similar to the December 2017 assembly elections in which the Congress did better by restricting the BJP to 99 seats in the 182-member assembly. (PTI File Photo)

The BJP beat the Congress in 47 of Gujarat’s 75 municipalities as the results for the civic elections were announced on Monday, but the ruling party’s tally fell in the first major polls after the assembly elections last year.

The Congress won 16 nagarpalikas or municipalities, improving its performance since the last civic elections, others took away four and Independents candidates won six in the elections that were held on February 17.

The BJP had won 59 of the 79 municipalities in 2013. The Congress had won 11, but lost five of them after its leaders defected to the saffron party.

The results were in a way similar to the December 2017 assembly elections in which the Congress did better by restricting the BJP to 99 seats in the 182-member assembly. The opposition party lost nagarpalikas in areas dominated by its stalwarts as it did in the assembly elections last year.

Nagarpalikas in Amreli, a district which was swept by the Congress in the assembly polls, went to the BJP. It is being seen as a blow to its newly-elected young legislative party leader Paresh Dhanani. Similarly, the Congress could not perform well in the tribal belt where it has senior leaders such as former Union minister of state Naran Rathwa.

But the Congress claimed victory after its win in the 16 nagarpalikas as well as on bodies won by Independents.

“Win in the number of nagapalikas and the total number of councillors has gone up for the Congress. The party has kept up its impressive run after the assembly elections,” Congress leader Alpesh Thakor said.

The BJP, on its part, said the results proved that the voters have rejected the Congress party.

“At places, where the voters did not choose the BJP, they have opted for Independents,” BJP president Jitu Vaghani said.

The Congress, out of power in Gujarat since 1995, made the first comeback in 2015 by uprooting the BJP in the countryside in local body elections by winning 23 district panchayats against BJP’s 6, and 124 taluka panchayats against BJP’s 60.

It was followed by an impressive run in the 2017 assembly elections.

First Published: Feb 19, 2018 18:54 IST