23 Feb 2021: Gujarat municipal polls: Ruling BJP takes big lead
The counting of votes for 576 seats spread across six municipal corporations in Gujarat began at 9 am today, amid high security.
As per the latest trends, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken a lead in all civic bodies — Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, and Jamnagar.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which contested polls for the first time, reportedly upset Congress in Rajkot.
Polls: Elections were held on Sunday
On Sunday, elections were held for 192 seats across 48 wards in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and 120 seats across 30 wards in the Surat Municipal Corporation.
Polls also took place for 76 seats across 19 wards of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation; 72 seats across 18 wards in the Rajkot Municipal Corporation; 52 seats across 13 wards in the Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation; and 64 seats across 16 wards in the Jamnagar Municipal Corporation.
Voter turnout: Ahmedabad recorded the lowest voter turnout, Jamnagar the highest
The State Election Commission (SEC) had pegged the average voter turnout at 46.08%, with the lowest turnout, 42.51%, being recorded in Ahmedabad.
The most number of voters, 53.38%, turned up in Jamnagar.
The voter turnout in Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Vadodara, and Surat was recorded at 50.72%, 49.46%, 47.84%, and 47.14%.
Notably, the ruling BJP is in power in all these civic bodies.
Trends: BJP takes lead in 58 seats, Congress in 8
BJP was leading in 58 seats and Congress in 8 at the time of publishing.
While the saffron party registered leads in Jamjodhpur, Thaltej, Vastrapur, Asarwa, Saijpur, Nava Vadaj, and Navrangpura wards, Congress surged ahead in Dariyapur and Chandkheda wards.
Dariyapur in Ahmedabad is viewed as a Congress bastion.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) was leading from Behrampura ward.
Details: BJP denied tickets to senior members, some jumped ships
While BJP's performance in the polls is hardly surprising, the selection of candidates had caused a rift within the party. Several senior and multiple-term corporators were denied tickets, sparking their decisions to switch sides.
Karsan Karmur, the outgoing Deputy Mayor of Jamnagar, joined AAP after BJP overlooked him during ticket distribution.
He was said to be leading against his competitors.
Celebrations: BJP loyalists celebrated after trends indicated a victory
As reports of a probable BJP sweep trickled in, celebrations broke out at several places.
Visuals from outside the counting center in Ahmedabad showed a large crowd cheering and waving the party's flags.
Elections for 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats are scheduled for February 28. The results will be out on March 2, the State Election Commission (SEC) had said.