The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday swept the polls to six municipal corporations in Gujarat, retaining power with two-thirds majority in all but one of them, in a big victory for Chief Minister Narendra Modi who put all his might behind the civic election campaign.
Besides Ahmedabad, the BJP won the civic polls in Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot and Bhavnagar with a two-thirds majority. The party, which decimated the Congress, got a simple majority in Jamnagar. Savouring the win, Modi profusely thanked the people of Gujarat for reposing faith in the party.
He said the BJP bagged 80 per cent of the votes in almost all the places with the remaining being accounted for by all the other parties and Independents put together. The poll victories came just a few weeks after the BJP won Kachlal in Anand district in a by-election, bagging the assembly constituency -- a Congress bastion -- for the first time in the history of the state.
Senior BJP leader L K Advani congratulated Modi for the spectacular showing for the party and noted that the Congress has been wiped out. Online voting was introduced for the first time in the civic polls.
Over 2,100 candidates were in fray for more than 558 seats for elections in six municipal corporations in Gujarat. The ruling BJP as well as the Opposition Congress had campaigned extensively and had also roped in national leaders for the polls.
The BJP had won all the six municipal corporations in the last elections held in 2005. It had made the arrest of Amit Shah, close aide of Modi, by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, as one of the main issues, as all its national leaders alleged that the arrest amounted to the misuse of CBI by the Congress and asked people to give its mandate through the ballot papers.
During the campaign, Modi also took a swipe at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the tardy pace of preparations for the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
The Congress, on the other hand, had focussed more on local issues, saying the corporation polls were about civic amenities and highlighted the assistance given to the state under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission for development of infrastructure in cities.