Gandhinagar municipal polls first test for new CM Bhupendra Patel
New entrant AAP is focusing heavily on the city to upset the traditional BJP-Congress contest
The tripartite contest involving the BJP, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the civic polls in capital Gandhinagar will be the first test for the new administration headed by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.
The polling for the GMC with 44 seats in 11 wards will be held between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on October 3 while the counting of votes and declaration of results will be on October 5, as per the schedule announced by State Election Commissioner Sanjay Prasad.
This is the last major local election before the crucial Assembly polls to be held in November/December 2022.
A close contest
Traditionally, the election for the civic body, formed in 2010, has always been a close contest between the BJP and the Congress but this time, new entrant AAP is focusing heavily to upset the traditional bipolar contest.
The polls are being held after they were called off due to the COVID-19 second wave in April. The BJP’s pitch is development in the capital city and newly merged areas which were earlier parts of outskirts while the Opposition Congress is focussing on pandemic mismanagement as the capital city was one of the worst affected in the State.
Calling the BJP and the Congress two sides of the same coin, the AAP is asking the voters, mostly State government employees and their families, to give it one chance.
On Saturday, the AAP’s rally at Indroda saw huge turnout as several thousand people attended it amidst rain. “The people of Gandhinagar will reject both the BJP and the Congress because there is not much difference between the two,” said AAP leader Isudan Gadhavi, who was earlier a popular news anchor in a Gujarati channel.
The AAP leaders and party volunteers have been seen campaigning in streets and localities talking about education and healthcare services provided by the Delhi government in the national capital.
Concern over rising visibility of AAP
The BJP leaders appear concerned about the rising visibility of the AAP volunteers and leaders because the traditional Gandhinagar voters have often voted against the ruling dispensation in the State.
On Saturday, Mr. Patel also joined the campaign while the entire Cabinet will be campaigning after the two-day Assembly session starting on Monday.
There are close to 2.8 lakh voters in the city.