BJP sweeps Gujarat civic elections

In a repetition of the state Assembly elections, the BJP drubbed the Congress in the civic polls here by bagging 47 of the 75 municipalities, as against Congress’ tally of 19. The results were announced on Tuesday.

At a time when clamour for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate is gaining momentum, the party swept the Muslim-dominated Salaya municipality in the Saurashtra region. The BJP won all 27 seats in Salaya, with 24 of the winning candidates being Muslims. Nine of them were women. The party had never won in Salaya before.

The Congress, which has been sweeping the municipal elections so far, drew a blank with three of its candidates losing their deposits.

The winning candidates in Salaya attributed their crossover to the BJP to the chief minister’s governance agenda.

“We have realised that in 65 years the Congress has done nothing for us. Narendra Modi has been doing welfare work for the people and we believe that an association with him will benefit the village,’’ said Saleem Bagda, a winning candidate.

Barring urban centres like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara and Surat, the Modi-magic swept all semi-urban centres. Besides, the BJP emerged as the biggest party in 10 municipalities. Over 80 BJP candidates had won without a contest.

BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja credited Modi’s development initiatives for the victory. “The people have once again rejected the negative politics of the Congress. The BJP’s success in a township comprising 90 per cent Muslims will take the wind out of many pseudo-secular elements,” he said.

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