The ruling BJP and Opposition Congress each claimed victory in the Gram Panchayat elections held on April 8 in Gujarat, results for which were declared today. The Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) declared the outcome of the elections held for 1,491 gram panchayats last Saturday.
Since gram panchayat polls are not fought on party symbols, the contestants have to fight in their personal capacity. Each voter needs to cast two votes, one to elect a Sarpanch and another to elect members. The SEC had announced elections to total 1,828 gram panchayats last month. However, elections were held in 1,491 gram panchayats, as remaining village bodies were declared “uncontested” after villagers elected their sarpanchs unanimously.
As the results started coming out, the BJP claimed that 80 per cent elected Sarpanchs are associated with the BJP, whereas the Congress claimed that more than 69 per cent elected Sarpanchs belonged to the Opposition party. “People have once again put trust in BJP, as they are very happy with current state government under Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. Around 80 per cent sarpanchs elected today are BJP’s supporters,” the Gujarat unit BJP president Jitu Vaghani said.
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Some leaders celebrated the party’s “victory” at the state BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar after the declaration of results. Gujarat unit Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi claimed that more than 69 per cent elected sarpanchs belong to his party.
“Out of total 1,491 gram panchayats, Congress supporters won in 860 village bodies, which is more than 69 per cent. BJP’s claim of 80 per cent is laughable. Voters have rejected the BJP due to their anti-farmer policies,” he said. The State Election Commission Secretary M V Joshi said the counting of votes ended peacefully across the state.
“Barring one incident of a technical glitch in an EVM machine in Dahod district, counting has ended peacefully and results of these gram panchayts were declared today,” Joshi said, adding almost 80 per cent voter turnout was registered in the polling held on April 8.
The victory in gram panchayat elections is a prestige issue for both the BJP and the Congress, who will be crossing swords in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state, due later this year.
Meanwhile, family members of a newly-elected sarpanch of Vasai-Dabhla village in Vijapur taluka of Mehsana district have claimed that he died of a heart attack while celebrating his victory.
“Nikulsinh Chavda complained of chest pain when his victory procession was passing from village in the afternoon. He was rushed to a hospital in Mehsana, but died shortly. Doctors informed us that Chavda died of a heart attack,” a member of his family said.
In December last year, elections to 10,300 Gram Panchayats were held across the state.
At that time too, the BJP and the Congress had claimed their respective victories.
As per the figures with the State Panchayats Department, there are total 14,017 gram panchayats in the state while the total number of villages is 18,584.