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Guj: BJP wins Gandhinagar and 2 other civic bodies; Cong bags Bhanvad municipality

Ahmedabad: The ruling BJP on Tuesday retained the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) and won in two other civic bodies in Gujarat, while the Congress took away Bhanvad municipality in Devbhumi-Dwarka district from the saffron party.

In the GMC, the BJP established its lead since the beginning of counting at 9 am, and eventually trumped its rivals Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) by a huge margin.

The GMC poll was being seen as a litmus test for the BJP in the backdrop of its sudden and surprising decision to change the state's chief minister and the entire cabinet recently, ahead of the state Assembly polls due next year. The party had registered a thumping win in the local bodies polls held in February this year.

As per the final tally released by the State Election Commission (SEC), out of total 44 seats in the GMC, the BJP won 41 seats, the Congress-two and the AAP bagged one seat.

Counting of votes was also held for three other municipalities - Okha and Bhanvad in Devbhumi-Dwarka district, and Thara municipality of Banaskantha district.

As per the final figures released by the SEC after counting of votes, the BJP won 20 out of 24 seats in Thara, while the Congress got only four seats.

The BJP retained Okha municipality by winning 34 out of 36 seats, while two seats went to the Congress.

However, in a setback to the BJP, the Congress emerged victorious in Bhanvad by winning 16 out of 24 seats. The BJP, which managed to win only eight seats this time, was in power in Bhanvad since 1995.

Voting for elections to the GMC and the three other municipalities took place on Sunday. Besides, bypolls to elect representatives on 104 vacant seats of various other local bodies were also held the same day.

Of the total 2.8 lakh registered voters in Gandhinagar, 56.24 per cent had exercised their franchise.

The voter turnout in Okha and Bhanvad was 55.07 and 62.27 per cent, respectively, while Thara had recorded an impressive 73.55 per cent turnout.

In Gandhinagar, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had put in a concerted effort apart from traditional rivals BJP and Congress.

A total of 161 candidates contested the GMC poll, with the BJP and Congress fighting in all 44 seats and the AAP in 40 seats.

In the 2016 GMC elections, both the Congress and BJP won 16 seats each out of the total 32 seats existing at that time.

Both the parties then had equal chances of forming the board through a draw of lots. However, at the last moment, Congress corporator Pravin Patel switched sides and helped the BJP come to power in the civic body.

The latest election was originally supposed to be held in April this year, but it was postponed in view of the high number of COVID-19 cases emerging every day at that time. PTI

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