The Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation election was being seen as a litmus test for the BJP in the backdrop of its sudden and surprising decision to change the state’s chief minister and the entire cabinet recently, ahead of the state Assembly polls due next year. The ruling BJP today retained the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) and won in two other civic bodies in Gujarat, while the Congress took away Bhanvad municipality in Devbhumi-Dwarka district from the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The poll results “reaffirm the deep-rooted bond between the people of Gujarat and BJP”. The party had registered a thumping win in the local bodies polls held in February this year. As per the final tally released by the State Election Commission (SEC), out of total 44 seats in the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation, the BJP won 41 seats, the Congress-two and the Aam Aadmi Party got one seat.
BJP faces setback in Bhanvad
Counting of votes was also held for three other municipalities – Okha and Bhanvad in Devbhumi-Dwarka district, and Thara municipality of Banaskantha district. BJP won 20 out of 24 seats in Thara, while the Congress got only four seats. The BJP retained Okha municipality by winning 34 out of 36 seats, while two seats went to the Congress. However, in a setback to the BJP, the Congress emerged victorious in Bhanvad by winning 16 out of 24 seats. The BJP, which managed to win only eight seats this time, was in power in Bhanvad since 1995.
Of the total 2.8 lakh registered voters in Gandhinagar, 56.24 per cent had exercised their franchise. The voter turnout in Okha and Bhanvad was 55.07 and 62.27 per cent, respectively, while Thara had recorded an impressive 73.55 per cent turnout.
A total of 161 candidates contested the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation election, with the BJP and Congress fighting in all 44 seats and the AAP in 40 seats. In the 2016 Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation elections, both the Congress and BJP won 16 seats each out of the total 32 seats existing at that time.
Both the parties then had equal chances of forming the board through a draw of lots. However, at the last moment, Congress corporator Pravin Patel switched sides and helped the BJP come to power in the civic body.