AHMEDABAD, Feb 23: A spate of resignations have started pouring in from the Congress quarters as the party was almost wiped out from urban Gujarat with the BJP set to sweep massive victories in all the six municipal corporations in the state.
Even as the counting of votes was still on and official results of some of the seats are still to be declared, the results available till Tuesday evening showed that the ruling BJP has retained control of all the six municipal corporations- Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar-which went to the polls on Sunday registering a mere 46.08 per cent turnout.
Shockingly, the Congress could not even open its accounts in the diamond city of Surat where the opposition slot was captured by the Aam Aadmi Party, which went into the Gujarat civic elections in a big way this time hoping to provide an alternative to the Congress as the grand old party continued to suffer poll reverses in the prime minister Narendra Modi and the union home minister Amit Shah’s home state.
The AAP, however, also could not open its accounts in any of the other five municipal corporations.
Of the total 575 seats in the six civic bodies, the BJP has already claimed 456 seats leaving the Congress way behind with mere 42 seats and others getting 34 seats. The AIMIM which too joined the fray in a big way also opened its accounts in Ahmedabad winning seven seats. The AIMIM’s stepping into Gujarat was clearly at the cost of the Congress as in all the seats the Muslim party won, the nearest rivals were the Congress nominees with the BJP trailing in the third place. Like the AAP, the AIMIM also could not win any seat in the other five civic bodies. Same was the fate of the Bahujan Samaj Party which won three seats in the Jamnagar municipal corporation and none in other five corporations.
Perhaps even the critics of the Congress could not anticipate such annihilation of the party in the major urban centres in the state with except for 14 in the 192-member Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and 11 in the 64-member Jamnagar civic body, the Congress could not even reach the double figure in other municipal corporations.
Making the predictions of the state BJP president C R Paatil true that his party would secure more than two-thirds majority in all the six civic bodies, the BJP has captured 149 seats in Ahmedabad municipal corporation, 93 in the 120-member Surat municipal Corporation, 61 of the 76 in Vadodara where the Congress won seven seats, 68 of the 72 seats in the chief minister Vijay Rupani’s home town Rajkot leaving four seats for the Congress, 44 of the 52 seats in Bhavnagar and the Congress winning only eight seats and 50 in the 64-member Jamnagar municipal corporation where the Congress won 11 and the Bahujan Samaj Party three seats.
Even though the Congress is out of power in the state for the last two decades or so, barring a brief five-year rule in Ahmedabad municipal corporation in early 2000’s, Tuesday’s outcome was the party’s worst performance till date. In the 2015 elections, the Congress had 49 seats in Ahmedabad against the BJP’s 142, 34 in Rajkot against the BJP’s 38, in Jamnagar 24 and the BJP 38, in Bhavnagar 18 against BJP’s 34, in Vadodara 14 against the BJP’s 58, and in Surat 36 as against the BJP’s 80 seats.
In the wake of the BJP sweep, the Congress city unit presidents of Ahmedabad, Surat, Jamnagar, Vadodara, Rajkot and several others centres tendered their resignations accepting the responsibility for the party’s debacle. The Congress, however, is pinning its hopes on the semi-urban and rural Gujarat which will go to the polls on February 28 with polling scheduled to be held in 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats in the state.