Both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress on Sunday claimed “massive success” in the elections to over 8,000 village panchayats in Gujarat.

Though these elections are not contested on party lines, both State BJP president R.C. Faldu and his Congress counterpart, Arjun Modhwadia, claimed that more than 70 per cent of the village panchayats were wrested by the “sympathisers” of their parties.

After more than 2,100 villages unanimously elected their sarpanches, including more than 260 villages constituting “all-women” bodies,” the elections were held in 8,383 villages on December 29, the results of which were declared on Sunday.

As in the municipal corporations and municipalities, the voters in the rural areas also rejected the pro-Congress elements because of the party's “anti-development” policies, Mr. Faldu claimed. According to him, it was the “worst-ever defeat” for the Congress in rural Gujarat.

Claiming that his party supporters had taken control of more than 70 per cent of the village panchayats in the State, Mr. Modhwadia said the Narendra Modi government's pro-industrial policies at the cost of agriculture and ignoring the problems being faced by the people in the rural areas had taken a heavy toll on the BJP support base. The Congress leader claimed that the State government had “totally failed” to solve the problems of drinking and irrigation water, health, education, and unemployment in the rural areas.