The Gujarat civic polls followed this pattern to the tee. What however was a little different this time was the party’s surrender before the BJP’s election machinery that won the civic polls in the state.
Till the filing of this report, the ruling BJP has won all the 31 district panchayats, leading in 77 out of 81 municipalities and 200 taluk panchayats out of 231. Compare this with the 2015 local body polls when BJP had won in around 50 municipalities, 6 district panchayats and about 65 taluk panchayats.
Out of 2,720 seats across 81 municipalities, BJP bagged 2,063 and Congress 385; Across 980 seats in 31 district panchayats, the BJP won 785, leaving 167 for Congress. Out of 4,774 seats across 231 taluk panchayats, the BJP won in 3,322 seats while the Congress had to make do with 1,243.
Both Gujarat Pradesh Congress President Amit Chavda and leader of the opposition Paresh Dhanani tendered in their resignations after the debacle and the Congress high command accepted the same. Earlier, in the aftermath of party’s decimation in six municipal corporations, the Congress city presidents too had resigned.
With this, the pattern seems to be very evident –– candidates who were denied tickets start a smear campaign on the officially-nominated candidate and keep away from campaigning for the party, which eventually leads to their defeat.
The Gujarat Congress, was for all practical purpose used by Rahul Gandhi to usher in a generational shift with the appointment of Chavda and Dhanani, which he followed up with appointing Rajiv Satav, another young turk, as the state in-charge, and 27-year-old political greenhorn Hardik Patel as the working president. Infact, Hardik couldn’t even find a Congress candidate to stand for this election for the Viramgam municipality.
Rahul Gandhi’s other additions to the Gujarat Congress were Alpesh Thakore, who has already shifted his allegiance to the BJP, and Jignesh Mevani, the eloquent independent MLA from Congress’ stronghold of Vadgam –– he has been making desperate attempts to project himself but without much success.
Also, Ahmed Patel, is no more.
What however may spell serious trouble for Congress is the fact that the results of the civic polls are often touted as the semi-final before the 2022 assembly elections. The elections may well see the breaking of Congress veteran Madhavsinh Solanki’s record of 149-seat win by the BJP
Though the BJP faced a debacle in the 2015 civic polls, it did win the 2017 elections.
This election also saw the entry of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) in the state polity. If Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerged as the opposition in Surat Municipal Corporation replacing the Congress, AIMIM has pushed Congress to the third spot in Modasa municipality on Tuesday and emerged as the principal opposition.
The number of opposition MLAs, including Chhotu Vasava, Vikram Madam, Punja Vansh, Ashwin Kotwal and Niranjan Patel, also saw their sons getting defeated on Tuesday.