Congress defeated in Gujarat Panchayat polls, Congress State President’s hometown goes to BJP

The Gujarat Congress has yet again failed to hold on to the power in Gujarat District and Taluk Panchayats, despite the efforts of their senior leaders. The Congress party, under the presidentship of Rahul Gandhi, has lost 5 district panchayats and about 30 taluka Panchayat in the state that went for elections of office-bearers.

In 2015, the Congress had won 23 of 31 district panchayats and 146 of 239 taluka panchayats. This performance of the Congress party was considered as a massive victory for the Congress party in Gujarat which is widely considered as BJP’s home turf. Based on the performance, the Congress party had also done reasonably well in the 2017 Assembly polls by restricting ruling BJP below 100 in 182-seat State Assembly.

Generally, elections are held every two-and-a-half years among elected representatives of these panchayats to re-elect president and vice-president to Panchayat bodies.

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With the BJP wresting Ahmedabad, Patan, Bhavnagar, Mahisagar and Dahod district panchayats, the Congress’ tally now stood at 18. Congress also lost its power in about 30 taluka panchayats, including in Umreth of Anand district, the hometown of State Congress President Amit Chavda. Earlier, Congress had lost control over a Panchayat in Amreli, the hometown of the leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani.

The Congress, which had won these local bodies in 2015, accused the ruling BJP of using money power to “buy” its elected members. Gujarat unit Congress president Amit Chavda alleged the BJP had paid Rs 25 lakh to Rs 2 crore to each Congress councillor for cross-voting.

Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda said that the BJP used State Government machinery and money power to lure Congress members with a malign motive to snatch Panchayat bodies from the Congress party.

Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani slammed Congress and said the members of the Congress voted in favour of BJP nominees because they were “fed up with the Congress leadership”. “The Congress lost because of infighting and over-confidence,” Vaghani told reporters in Gandhinagar.

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