BJP sweeps Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation election-2005
Modi rides high on popularity wave
By Ashok Kumar
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to an impressive victory in the elections to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). The BJP wrested control of the civic body from the Congress, whose tally went down from 65 in 2000 to 32 now. The BJP won 96 out of the total 129 seats and the Congress party secured 32 seats, while one independent candidate registered victory in the civic polls, held on October 13.
While the BJP contested all the 129 seats, the Congress fielded its candidates for 125 seats. The NCP and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) contested 63 and 44 seats respectively. The Akhil Bharatiya Jana Sangh also contested 20 seats. In 2000, the Congress had won 65 seats and got the backing of five independents, while the BJP had to be content with 59 seats.
The BJP returns to power in the city civic body after a gap of five years. In the 2000 elections, the Congress elbowed it out, ending its uninterrupted 13-year rule. The BJP'sdefeat last time was considered a major setback to the then Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel.
The result has clearly established the supremacy of Shri Modi as a master strategist with organisational capacity and as a victorious mass leader. Shri Modi had launched a mass appeal campaign, reaching every nook and corner of the city.
This time, the BJP has gained 11,80,771 votes with impressive 50.16 per cent of total votes cast, as against 10,45,820 votes in 2000. The vote share of the party has gone up from 39.24 per cent in 1995 to 43.18 in 2000 to the present figure.
Election this year also saw low turnout, only 30.39 per cent (23.53 lakh votes), while in the previous elections of 2000, it was 32.88 per cent (24.21 lakh votes) and in 1995, it was 39.35 per cent (27.28 lakh votes). In the above-mentioned background, the BJP has gained in sheer numbers as well as percentage.
Also, in 2000, the difference between BJP and Congress votes was four per cent (BJP?43.18 per cent; Congress?39.44 per cent), while in 2005, the difference between BJP and Congress is remarkable, which is 14 per cent (BJP?50.16 per cent; Congress?36.18 per cent).
The highlights of the results are: The BJP got two seats uncontested. It also won 34 seats reserved for women out of the total 43. The BJP also registered victory in four SC women seats out of six seats and three OBC women seats out of four seats. The party also won seven SC reserved seats out of 11 seats and also the only ST seat. This clearly shows that voters of all sections of the society voted for the BJP.
Furthermore, the BJP attained full-panel victory in 28 wards out of total 43 wards, whereas Congress won only seven. The BJP has snatched 37 seats from the Congress and got more than 50 per cent votes polled in 24 wards. About 168 candidates of other parties lost deposits. Compared to the previous two elections, the vote percentage of independents and ?others? was very low (1995?38.40 per cent; 2000?17.38 per cent and 2005?13.65 per cent).
An analysis of the results show that the Muslims voted for the BJP. Treated as vote-bank for years by the Congress, the minority community delivered an interesting mandate in AMC elections.
The crucial elections had Shri Modi almost single-handedly taking on the rival Congress and dissidents within his party. While the Congress had brought in senior central leaders like Shri Shankarsinh Vaghela, Smt Meira Kumar and Shri Sachin Pilot for canvassing, Shri Modi led the BJP'sassault alone.
It is believed that the results of AMC elections will have an impact on the entire State as 49 towns, 23 district panchayats and 209 taluka panchayats will go to polls on October 25. It'sunderstood that the jubilant mood in the BJP camp will have its impact on these elections too.
Taking potshots at ?the inactive Indian National Congress in Gujarat?, Shri Modi said, ?We have snatched AMC from under their nose. This loss is not just the State Congress'sloss but Sonia Gandhi'spersonal loss. Despite UPA'skey functionaries lodging in State specially for the elections they lost.?
State BJP president Vajubhai Vala said the outcome of the AMC elections demonstrated the people'sconfidence in the BJP to take the ?mega city? and the State on the path of development.
He said he was confident that favourable results would come for the p