BJP wins big in Gujarat local body elections, but debutant AAP makes surprising inroads

Published : February 24, 2021 12:30 IST

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani being felicitated on the BJP’s win in Gujarat municipal corporation elections, in Ahmedabad on February 23. Photo: PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has, predictably, swept the municipal elections that were held recently in Gujarat. It has retained power in all six municipal corporations while the Congress, which posed a tough challenge in the 2017 Assembly elections, has been decimated. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), however, has done surprisingly well.

Results of the local body elections were declared on February 24. The BJP has won 483 out of the 576 municipal corporation seats. The Congress got a drubbing, winning just 55 seats. Making a significant debut in Gujarat, the AAP secured 27 seats, mainly in the textile hub of Surat. In fact, it has emerged as the main opposition in the Surat Municipal Corporation. The AAP had bravely fielded 470 candidates across all six corporations. Gujarat is known as a two-party State, with the Congress and the BJP usually fighting it out in elections. This was the first time a third national party had contested elections on such a wide scale.

The final tally announced by the State Election Commission: the BJP won 159 out of 192 seats in Ahmedabad; 93 out of 120 in Surat; 69 out of 76 seats in Vadodara; 68 out of 72 seats in Rajkot; 50 out of 64 seats in Jamnagar; and 44 out of 52 seats in Bhavnagar. The Congress won 25 seats in Ahmedabad, 11 in Jamnagar, eight in Bhavnagar, seven in Vadodara and four in Rajkot. Another significant win is that of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM): it won seven seats from Ahmedabad’s Jamalpur and Maltampura wards. The Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) won three seats in Jamnagar and an independent won in Ahmedabad.

A political observer in Ahmedabad says the BJP’s win was given. However, the Congress, which is in shambles in Gujarat, lost several seats to the AAP and AIMIM. Gujarat has been governed at all levels by the BJP for the past 25 years. Many believe that people vote for the party because of a lack of viable alternatives. The new entrants, said the political observer, may shake things up.

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