Ahmedabad, Dec 3
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]fter the setbacks in Bihar, results of the Civic and Panchayat polls in Gujarat have sent worrying signals for the BJP. On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf, the BJP retained its hold over Municipal Corporations in urban areas, but suffered major losses at the hands of the Congress in rural areas.
What would hurt the BJP most is the fact it fared poorly in Mahesana district in North Gujarat, which is home of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and several local BJP stalwarts.
The ruling BJP retained all six Municipal Corporations – Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamangar and Bhavnagar – and won 42 out of 56 municipalities that went to polls. But that is where it ran out of luck. The Congress grabbed 22 out of 31 District Panchayats and 110 out of 230 taluka panchayats. The extent of the BJP setback can be gauged from the fact that in 2010, the party had won 30 of these 31 seats.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]n case of taluka panchayats, the BJP again suffered major reverses with Congress winning 230 taluka panchayats. Of the total 4778 seats under taluka panchayats, the Congress won 2108 seats against BJP’s 1413.
In 2010, the BJP had won 47 out of 56 municipalities and 191 out of 230 taluka panchayats. Even in case of the Municipal Corporation, the BJP has failed to retain the numbers of seats. Of the total 572 seats in these cities, the Congress won 175 seats as against 103 it captured in 2010.
The outcome showed that the rebellion by the powerful Patel castes has cost the BJP heavily. It also indicates that while the BJP held sway in urban areas, the rural populace was drifting away from it.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]F[/dropcap]or 12 long years when Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat the Congress was a spent force in the state. But the results show that under Anandiben Patel’s stewardship of the BJP in Gujarat, the Congress is staging a major comeback.
The outcome is likely to intensify the power struggle within the state BJP. It is well known that BJP President Amit Shah and Anandiben do not see eye to eye. Few senior BJP leaders campaigned in the civic polls leaving the Chief Minister to fend for herself.
However, at a time when the Patels were up in arms against the BJP demanding reservation in job and educational institutions, it may not be an easy task for Modi to remove his handpicked Chief Minister.
The CM admitted that the results were not up to the party’s expectations. “We respect the verdict and congratulate the people of Gujarat. Now it is time for the BJP workers to work harder,” she said at the State BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]s Congress workers celebrated the verdict, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Bharatsinh Solanki said that the outcome showed that rural voters in Gujarat were disenchanted with the performance of the Government.