The results of the 2015 Gujarat civic polls clearly indicate that the BJP has suffered a considerable setback in rural and semi-rural areas while retaining its stronghold in the urban areas.
Despite the many question marks raised over the popularity of CM Anandiben Patel and the likelihood of a comeback for the Congress the party, BJP has managed to hold onto all the six municipal corporations. But the setback for the party which is in power at the state and the centre were in rural and semi rural areas.
Significantly Congress won both the zilla parishad and municipal corporation in PM Modi's home district Mehsana.
For the 988 seats in the 31 district panchayats, the Congress managed better results than arch rivals BJP winning 472 seats compared to BJP’s 292, while the rest were won by other political outfits.
Among the 4,778 block panchayats seats in 230 taluks, Congress won 2102 seats while the BJP only managed only 1718 seats.
However, the BJP fared better in the 56 municipalities winning 984 seats compared to Congress’s 587.
Counting for all the six municipal corporations, 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities started at 10 15 am on Wednesday.
The importance of these elections is in the fact that it the first major elections in the state after Anandiben Patel took over from present PM Narendra Modi as the chief minister of the state.
In the backdrop of whole ‘intolerance’ debate and the and the party’s disappointing defeat in the Bihar assembly elections, the Patel agitation can also be a matter of worry for the BJP.
The elections are also a litmus test for the ruling BJP as it fights the anti-incumbency factor after winning last three terms in assembly elections.
The six municipal corporations- Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar that went for polls on November 26, while the same for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities was held on November 29.
All the municipal corporations were under the BJP’s control but the Congress which is the primary opposition in the state is hopeful for a comeback.
The state has been facing disruption as Patel leaders has been demanding inclusion of the community in the OBC reservation list and lured voters to vote for the Congress.
Hardik Patel, who is the face of Patel stir, is in jail for more than a month now facing sedition charges.
However, the chief minister, during campaigning had out rightly denied the possibility of reservation in the OBC category for the Patels citing constitutional provisions.
Interestingly, this is also the first time that a state government had wanted to make voting in civic polls compulsory but that idea was scrapped by a High Court ruling.
The elections were considerably peaceful with no major reported incidents of violence.