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BJP Sweeps Local Body Elections in Gujarat, Congress Leaders Resign After Dismal Show

File photo: Union home minister Amit Shah during a rally in Bengal (PTI)

File photo: Union home minister Amit Shah during a rally in Bengal (PTI)

The BJP's success followed its victory in all six municipal corporations where polls were held in the first phase of local elections on February 21.

The ruling BJP recorded a massive victory in the local body polls in Gujarat on Tuesday by winning clear majority in all 31 district panchayats as well as in 196 out of 231 taluka panchayats and 74 out of 81 municipalities. The Congress, the main opposition party in the state, won a clear majority in only one municipality and 18 taluka panchayats, while AIMIM and AAP also made their presence felt.

In six municipalities and 15 taluka panchayats no party has got clear majority. The BJP’s success followed its victory in all six municipal corporations where polls were held in the first phase of local elections on February 21. In the second phase where polling was held for district and taluka panchayats as well as municipalities on February 28, the BJP again left the Congress far behind by winning 6,236 out of 8,470 seats for which results were declared. The position was not yet clear on four remaining seats. The Congress could win 1,805 seats, while the new entrants Aam Aadmi Paty (AAP) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) won 42 and 17 seats, respectively.

With the BJP emerging stronger in rural and semi-urban areas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the results show that Gujarat remains firmly with the saffron 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," Modi said in a tweet.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted that the 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. He congratulated Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and state BJP President C R Paatil as well as party workers for the “grand victory". Chief minister Rupani said the Congress is a sinking ship that is not fit for even being an opposition.

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“The manner in which the people of Gujarat have wiped out the Congress shows that Gujarat remains the stronghold of the BJP," he told reporters. The results of local body polls come as a boost for chief minister Rupani ahead of 2022 Assembly elections. Questions had been raised about his leadership when the BJP scraped through in the 2017 Assembly polls.

State Congress Chief, Opposition Leader Quit

Meanwhile, Congress state unit president Amit Chavda and Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani resigned from their posts on Tuesday. Chavda said people had raised doubts about EVMs and all these things should be probed. After the Grand Old Party’s dismal performance, a party spokesperson said it was now up to the top brass of the Congress to decide the future course of action.

“Taking the responsibility of the election results as state Congress chief, I have submitted my resignation to party president Sonia Gandhi," Chavda told reporters, adding that he would work as a common party worker from now on. The Congress could bag only 1,805 seats. “The election results are totally opposite to what our expectations were. We had received good responses from people during our campaigning but results do not reflect it. People have raised doubts on EVMs and all these things should be probed," Chavda said.

Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi confirmed that Dhanani has also sent his resignation to the party leadership in Delhi. “The party leadership has received both the resignations. Now it is up to the party brass to decide on the replacement of these leaders," Doshi said. He said the Central leadership of the Congress has asked Chavda and Dhanani to continue on their posts till the time their replacements are announced.

AIMIM Makes Inroads

Putting an impressive show in its debut election, Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM won 17 seats in three municipalities in the state. As per the final results declared by the State Election Commission (SEC), of the total 24 candidates fielded by the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in three municipalities of Modasa, Godhra and Bharuch, 17 have emerged victorious.

In two of these three municipalities, the AIMIM bagged the second position after the BJP relegating the Congress to the third slot. In Modasa municipality in Arvalli district, 9 of the 12 candidates of the AIMIM won.

Though the BJP retained power in this 36-member municipality, the AIMIM has won one more seat than the Congress (8). In the 44-member Godhra municipality in Panchmahal district, the AIMIM won seven out of the eight seats the party had contested. Among others, the BJP bagged 18 seats, the Congress one while 18 seats were won by Independent candidates. In Bharuch municipality, one of the four nominees of the AIIMIM won. The Owaisi-led party had not fielded candidates for district and taluka panchayat polls which were held on February 28.

Dalit Man Allegedly Killed in Celebratory Procession

A Dalit man was hacked to death on Tuesday by some people who were allegedly part of the victory celebration of a Congress candidate in Sanodar village in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district.

The deceased, identified as Amrabhai Boricha (50), a resident of Sanodar in Ghogha taluka, succumbed to injuries during treatment in a nearby hospital, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bhavnagar SC/ST Cell, Dinesh Kodiyatar said. Boricha’s daughter Nirmala, who was also injured in the attack, told reporters the victory procession was allegedly led by Vanrajsinh Gohil, whose wife Manisha, as per official poll data, won the Sanodar seat in Ghogha taluka panchayat on a Congress ticket.

“Ours is the only Dalit household in the village. When the procession was passing by, stones were pelted and the mob stormed into our house, attacked my father and family members.My father was killed after being hit on the head with a sword. I too sustained head injuries," Nirmala alleged. The process of registering an FIR was underway, Deputy SP Kodiyatar said.

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