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Sweeping victory for BJP in Gujarat civic polls

Special Correspondent

Captures all the 5 municipal corporations and 4 municipalities

GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, led his BJP to a sweeping victory in the civic elections capturing all the five municipal corporations and all the four municipalities where the elections were held on Sunday.

The BJP has not only dethroned the Congress from the Rajkot municipal corporation and retained the control of the Vadodara, Surat, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar municipal corporations, the party has also improved upon its tally in the last elections and claimed more than a two-thirds majority in all the five major civic bodies in the state.

After shadowing the Congress in the just-concluded district and taluka panchayat elections, the BJP has now established its complete supremacy in urban Gujarat. It had already elbowed out the Congress from the most prestigious Ahmedabad municipal corporation in the elections in October.

The BJP's victory in all the three rounds of the local self government body elections in the last two months is certain to further strengthen the position of Mr. Modi in the BJP in the State with his critics already lying low after the party's impressive victories in the Ahmedabad corporation and the district and taluka panchayat elections.

The overjoyed BJP workers came out in the streets to celebrate the party's victory in the five municipal corporations and four municipalities but Mr. Modi, who had virtually single-handedly shouldered the BJP's campaign in the local elections, declined to accept it as his personal triumph. "This is the victory of the thousands of silent BJP workers who had toiled hard for the party's success. Do not give the credit to me," he said while addressing a workers' rally at the party headquarters in Ahmedabad this evening.

Continued to reel under the BJP's heavy onslaught, Congress leaders despite blaming the "large scale misuse of administrative machinery by the BJP" for the party's defeat, admitted that the "trend of the people was against the Congress." The pradesh Congress spokesman, Hasmukh Patel, said the party was deeply concerned over its continuous failures at the husting since the Parliamentary elections last year and would devote itself for "self-assessment" to find out the causes for its election debacles in the State.

It was a near-total sweep for the BJP in both Surat and Vadodara municipal corporations where the party won 90 and 74 seats respectively leaving merely 11 and six seats respectively for the Congress. Many of the Congress heads rolled in the two cities with even former mayor and a member for the last 15 years, Dalsukh Prajapati, being defeated in Vadodara where the results of three seats in the 84-member civic body have been withheld due to the damage to EVMs.

In the 69-member Rajkot municipal corporation, the BJP returned to power after five years winning 59 seats with only 10 seats going to the Congress. In Bhavnagar and Jamnagar, both with 51 seats, the BJP claimed 39 and 37 seats respectively with Congress winning only 12 and nine seats respectively. In all the four municipalities of Morvi, Mehsana, Una and Padra, the BJP won with a big majority.

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