The people of Gujarat have started looking for options other than the opposition Congress, seeking an alternative to the ruling BJP in the local body elections of six municipal corporations in Gujarat.
Parties like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have opened their accounts in Gujarat.
Making a debut in the state by fielding its candidates for the six municipal Corporations, the AAP gained 27 seats in the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) against the BJP’s 93 seats, becoming the main opposition party in the SMC. AAP candidates captured entire wards of 2, 3, 4, 5, 16 and 17 in the SMC and won 2 seats in ward 7 and a single seat in ward 8. Congress could not even secure a single seat in Surat.
Similarly, AIMIM opened its account in Ahmedabad by winning two wards of Jamalpura and Maktampura, with all its candidates in both the wards winning. Congress had a stronghold on these areas until now.
Besides that, the BSP gained three seats in ward number 6 of the Jamnagar Municipal Corporation (JMC).
The people of Gujarat it seems have rejected the only opposition they have had until now, that of Congress in many areas. Besides Surat, Congress could garner only four seats in the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), whereas in 2015, it had secured 34 seats against BJP’s 38 out of the total 72.
Till now, there has been a direct fight between the BJP and Congress. The third option has always been rejected by the people of the state.
“The people of Gujarat are fed up of the BJP government, but they had no other option until now. We think that both the BJP and Congress are the same. We thank the people of Gujarat for supporting us in this election and helping us secure seats in SMC,” said Jaydeep Pandya, AAP General Secretary, Gujarat.
The Congress, which posed a tough challenge to the BJP in last assembly polls has been decimated in the 2021 municipality polls as BJP has swept the state, but surprisingly the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has made inroads in Gujarat’s urban centres which is a bigger threat for the Congress.
In Surat, the AAP has pushed Congress from second to third position. Congress state in-charge Rajeev Satav did not respond to calls but former Congress President Arjun Modwadia, speaking on the phone from Porbandar, said: “The election results of six municipalities are disheartening for Congress workers in Gujarat. We accept the people’s mandate but after every dark night there is a dawn. We will work hard to get the confidence of urban voters.
In the last assembly elections it was Surat where all the seats were won by the BJP and this time the surprise package is AAP.
Modwadia accepted there was mismanagement in elections and at the organisational level. “Urban centres have gone weak,” he said. Also, the AIMIM has dented Congress’s prospects in the state.
The Congress lost all the Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2019 General Elections.
The BJP is set to lead local bodies in Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar.
In Vadodara, the BJP has captured 66 seats out of the total 76 of the VMC, the rest going to the opposition Congress.
In Rajkot, the BJP has captured 68 seats out of the total 72 seats, with four going to Congress.
In Jamnagar, the BJP has captured 50 seats out of the total 64 of the JMC, while the opposition Congress won 11 seats and the Bahujan Samaj Party took three seats, opening their account in Gujarat.
In Bhavnagar, the BJP has captured 44 seats out of the total 52 of the BMC, the rest going to the opposition Congress.
Following the poor performance of the Congress, a series of city party chiefs resigned on Tuesday. Ashok Dangar, Rajkot Congress president tendered his resignation. Similarly, Babu Rayka, Surat Congress president and Prakash Vaghani, Bhavnagar Congress president, also submitted their resignations.