Skip to main content

Gujarat local body elections: Congress "bounces back" in rural areas, urban areas remain BJP bastion

By Darshan Desai
In a major setback, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lost face in his home state, Gujarat, where the ruling BJP has heavily lost in local body elections to the opposition Congress, written off in the state after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when it failed to win even one seat, conceding all 26 to the BJP.
Coming close on the heals of the shock Modi’s party suffered in Bihar, the BJP could win just six district panchayats as against the Congress’ victory in 24. Simultaneously, the BJP could win just about 67 taluka panchayats as against the Congress’ scorecard of 134.
The BJP ruled 30 out of 31 district panchayats and 150 out 231 taluka panchayats after the last elections to the local bodies, held in 2010. Yet, the fact is, while district and taluka panchayats may be cause for rejoice to the Congress, the party has not been able to make a major headway beyond the rural areas.
Thus, the BJP not only retained all six municipal corporations – Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar – for which the polls were held, it won 34 municipalities as against Congress’ scorecard of just 11.
No doubt, the BJP’s victory in six city municipal corporations and municipalities has been diluted, as its victory margins have gone down, but the Congress’ failure suggests that it has a long way to go to gain urban support.
The elections – held on November 22 and November 29 – are however being interpreted as suggesting that is BJP is not invincible. Gujarat has, for the last over a decade, been a state, which has won the reputation where anyone could win in the name of the BJP and Narendra Modi.
Despite urban defeat, results show that the Congress defeated the BJP in some of those city areas where it was considered strong, especially in the Patel-dominated areas. This was especially visible in Rajkot, where Patel vote matters the most – it bagged 34 seats against the BJP’s 38.
In the outgoing Rajkot Municipal Corporation, the BJP had 49 members, as against Congress’ just 10. But as for Ahmedabad, things remain look pretty well-entrenched for the BJP. This time, the BJP won the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation won 142 seats out of 192, as against just 154 in 2010.
The polls are considered as the first popularity test since Modi left Gujarat, leaving the chief ministership to his closest ideological protégé, Anandiben Patel, nearly two years ago. It was also the first poll in the state in the wake of Patel community protests demanding reservation in jobs and educational institutes.
Also this is the first election which the BJP wanted to be postponed in Gujarat, claiming that the law and order situation was “not conducive” to hold a free and free election.
Such view was not taken even in the aftermath of the 2002 communal riots, when the BJP, riding on the Hindutva wave, sought early elections. In fact, following petitions by individuals, the Gujarat High Court had to force the elections on Gujarat.

Comments

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

How green revolution led to 'deterioration' of Punjab economy, land, air and water

By Dr Gian Singh*  A recent research paper, based on a survey of 320 farming families in four districts of Punjab, has tried to show that high crop densities and the use of inputs have led to degradation of land, air, water and humans through a rich agricultural structure. Although mechanization has increased agricultural productivity, it has also caused environmental degradation.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Abysmal deficit of water, food waste recycle treatment 'impacting' Chennai life

By Simi Mehta*  We are living in a state where the most basic needs like food and water are not assured to the people residing in the urban areas, which account for the biggest sources of food and water wastage. Socio-economic inequality in society which is pervasive in urban areas is one of the main reasons for this.