In the results announced for the 33 municipalities that went to polls in the Saurashtra-Kutch regions, Congress gained three civic bodies overall as seven municipalities saw a change in power. The Congress snatched Dhoraji, Bhayavadar, Salaya, Rajula and Manavadar municipalities from the BJP.
Dhoraji and Bhayavadar are in Rajkot district, Salaya in Devbhoomi Dwarka, Rajula in Amreli and Manavadar in Junagadh district. On the other hand, the BJP ousted the Congress from Chalala municipality in Amreli district and Dhrol municipality in Jamnagar district.
Overall, the BJP managed to retain power in 22 municipalities, snatched two from the Congress, but also lost five. Similarly, the Congress retained power in three civic bodies, snatched five from the BJP while losing two to the BJP. NCP retained Ranavav municipality in Porbandar. The BJP had retained power in Jafrabad municipality in Amreli as Congress failed to put up any candidate. BJP candidates were declared winners uncontested from all the 28 seats of the civic body.
The better show of the Congress comes in the backdrop of the party outdoing the ruling BJP in the Assembly elections held in December last year. The Congress had increased its tally to 28 Assembly seats, almost double than the 15 it had won in the 2012 Assembly elections. The BJP’s count of seats in the agrarian region had dipped to 19.
Inflicting a heavy defeat on the BJP, the Congress won 27 seats out of 28 in Rajula municipality. Similarly, the Congress rallied in Gariyadhar municipality in Bhavnagar also and drew level with BJP at 14 seats all resulting in a tie.
There was a tie between the BJP and Congress in Mangrol municipality as both the parties won 14 seats each, while eight seats went to Independents who had formed an alliance and were ruling the civic body.
The Congress also increased its number of seats in Dwarka municipality and Rapara municipality in Kutch district.
Dhoraji Assembly seat, which covers Dhoraji, Upleta and Bhayavadar municipalities was won by Congress’ Lalit Vasoya, who was a leader of Patidar quota stir. Bhayavadar has been among the boiling pots of quota agitation in Saurashtra. But in a consolation, the BJP managed to retain power in Halvad in the quota-stir hotbed of Morbi district.
In south Gujarat, BJP retained power in four nagarpalikas. However, there was a tie in Pardi municipality with the BJP and Congress winning 28 seats each. The sitting Pardi Nagarpalika president, Sharad Patel, of the BJP lost the election.
Navsari unit BJP president Kanu Desai said, “We are happy with the victory and it shows that voters have kept faith in the party and are satisfied with the development works done in their areas.”
In Anand, BJP retained power in Vallabh Vidyanagar municipality with a clean sweep on all 24 seats of the six wards. The party also retained Karamsad municipality in Kheda district, a Patidar dominated town, known for being Sardar Patel’s hometown
The Congress, however, won Ode municipality in Anand. In Anklav, Independents won the majority of seats (23), while the BJP won one. The Congress suffered a setback as it did not win a single seat here. In Halol in the Panchmahals, BJP won with 25 seats. Independents spoiled the party for the BJP and Congress in Kalol by winning 17 seats.