After Delhi and Bihar, there’s bad news for the ruling BJP in Gujarat. The party has suffered its worst loss in Gujarat local body elections in over a decade.
Out of power for 20 years, the Congress made a stunning comeback in the rural areas of Gujarat where it won 21 of the 31 district panchayats and around 110 of the 230 taluka panchayats.
However, the BJP retained its hold over urban pockets clinching all six municipal corporations and 40 of 56 municipalities.
NDA ally Shiv Sena described the results of Gujarat local body polls as a “win for Congress despite losing” and said that it indicates that people of Gujarat do not stand behind the Prime Minister completely. It also said that the BJP needs to evaluate why “alarm bells” have started ringing on Narendra Modi’s home pitch.
The ruling alliance partner also said that the Congress getting a new lease of life in the Bihar Assembly elections is fine, but the party doing well in Modi’s home state is a matter of grave concern.
The loss of Panchayat seats also indicates towards the changing tides as Gujarat would go to polls in 2017.
While the Panchayat elections spelled disaster for BJP, there was a clear divide with regards to the results in cities and towns.
In these areas, the BJP not only fared much better, but also managed to retain all six municipal corporations seats. They also continued to hold on to their Nagar-Palika seats as they won 42 of 56 municipalities.
While factors like agitating Patidars, anti-incumbency and anger over lack of irrigation water and minimum support prices, led to BJP’s defeat; the fact that the party clearly missed PM Modi also cannot be denied.
BJP, during Modi’s stint as Gujarat CM has never lost elections from 2001 to 2014.
BJP was also reluctant to contest these elections and was finally forced to hold the polls after Supreme Court gave them a rap.
Talking about the win Congress’s Ahmed Patel said:
“Today’s results are a stepping stone for a Congress victory in 2017. Their ( BJP government) anti-people policies have taken a toll on people,”
Meanwhile, the results forced Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel to take stock of BJP’s defeat and she said:
“Though we have done well in municipal corporations and municipalities, it is also a fact that the results in district and taluka panchayat bodies are not up to the expectations, We have been doing several developmental works across Gujarat. We have also undertaken an exercise to strengthen the party organisation. Still we have to now analyse what went wrong. We will find out and address these problems.”
“In a democracy, the electorate is supreme which has shown its place to the biggest of politicians. The PM had given a call of a Congress-free India, but after Bihar, the Congress has now risen in Gujarat as well,” Shiv Sena had said, adding “the results have given an opportunity for Congress to rejoice.”