The saffron roller has continued to roll in Gujarat with the ruling BJP sweeping away districts and taluka panchayats and municipalities in the election results that are being declared on Tuesday.
Last week, opposition Congress had faced a drubbing in elections to six municipal corporations with the ruling BJP retaining power. In what is being viewed as a shocking defeat, the Congress failed to open its account in Surat Municipal Corporation, while the Aam Aadmi Party won 27 seats.
In the last elections, held five years ago, Congress had performed exceedingly well. This was after the Patidar stir headed by Hardik Patel (now a Congress leader). Patidar anger had reflected in the results and the BJP, which was considered not strong in rural areas, had lost.
However, this time around, the BJP’s game plan of focussing in rural and semi-urban areas has paid off. State BJP president C.R. Patel, who took over just before the COVID-19 peak last year, focussed at the booth level.
While the BJP already had page presidents (one president for one page of electoral roll), Patil expanded it to page committees. The success of the BJP is being seen as the success of Patil and chief minister Vijay Rupani.
The BJP’s victory is also being seen as a strong foundation for the assembly election in 2022. Soon after becoming the party president, Patil had made it clear that the party would break all the records in assembly elections.
Rupani said it is the foundation for the victory in 2022.
Congress still holds the record of winning 149 seats in the 182-member House under the leadership of the then chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki. He passed away last year. Even Narendra Modi could not break the record during his tenure as Gujarat chief minister.
In the results that are being declared on Tuesday, family members of five Congress MLAs have also lost.
As per the data of Gujarat State Election Commission at 2.20 pm, of the 4,774 taluka panchayat seats, the BJP had won 1,938 and the Congress 500. In district panchayats, of the 980 seats, the BJP had won 520 and the Congress only 95. In municipalities, of the 2,720 seats, the BJP had won 1,767 seats and the Congress 550 seats.
AAP has won 48 seats. Final results are awaited. Celebrations broke out at the BJP’s state headquarter at Kamalam in Gandhinagar.