Congress registers surprise gains in Gujarat local body polls

Ahmedabad, Dec 2 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday made surprise gains in rural and semi-urban areas in Gujarat local body polls, though the ruling BJP retained all six city municipal corporations as results for local self-government elections trickled in.

In all, elections to the 323 local bodies were conducted on November 22 and November 29.

In a virtual role reversal, the Congress walked away with 134 taluka panchayat bodies followed by 67 of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from a total of 230, while it bagged 24 of the 31 district panchayats.

The BJP had bagged 30 of the 31 district panchayats and 150 out 231 in 2010.

In the city areas, the BJP retained control over Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar municipal corporations, though the Congress put up a tough fight at several places.

For instance, even as the BJP bagged the 72-member Rajkot Corporation, it managed only 38 seats as against 34 of the Congress. In 2010, the BJP had won 49 and the Congress got 10 in the then house of 59.

In the cities, of the total 56 municipalities, the BJP won 34 and Congress 11. The rest were won by the independent and others. Here, the Congress added seven bodies to its previous tally and the BJP suffered a loss of six bodies of its previous tally.

This was the first popularity test since Anandiben Patel took charge of Gujarat last year after the then chief minister Narendra Modi moved to Delhi as prime minister.

It was also the first election in the state in the wake of Patel community protests, demanding quotas in jobs and education.

The results are also in sharp contrast to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when under Narendra Modi, the BJP managed to win all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat with the Congress scoring a zero, irrespective of the demographics.

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