IN A BOOST to the Congress, the party managed to retain power in Diu municipal council by winning 10 of the 13 seats in the civic body. The BJP managed to win only three. In the counting of votes held at Padmabhushan Complex on Monday, Congress candidates won with huge margins in nine wards, barring ward number 6. The BJP won from ward numbers 1, 2 and 4. Hitesh Solanki, the incumbent president of the municipal council won from ward number 7. He defeated Jitendra Baraiya of the BJP by 598 votes.
The BJP, which was bidding to return to power in the civic body after 14 years, suffered a jolt as its Daman and Diu Union Territory unit vice-president Kirit Vaja, who was the party’s face of the poll, lost to Mansuclal Carsane of the Congress by 17 votes. He later resigned from his post. Vaja had won from ward 2 in 2012 as a Congress candidate. He later defected to the BJP in 2013 and was made vice president of the party’s UT unit.
“I feel we failed to take the message of good work done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to people. We accept the mandate. Taking moral responsibility for the defeat of the party, I have decided to step down from the post of vice-president and have tendered my resignation to our president Gopal Tandel. However, I shall continue to work as a worker of the BJP,” Vaja said. The BJP though has increased its tally from two in the 2012 polls. “We accept the verdict of voters and concede that we went wrong somewhere. We have served public despite not being in the power here. But we went wrong somewhere and we shall introspect on it,” said Bipin Shah, the BJP president of Diu district unit. Incidentally, the BJP is ruling the Diu district panchayat.
In the evening, the Congress took out a victory procession in the town. “We are happy with the results of the election. People have voted us back to power for our good work. Our tally could have been 11 but for the police action against husband of one of our candidates at the instance of BJP president just a couple of days before the polling,” Solanki said.
Incidentally, Vaja was arrested in April this year for allegedly raising slogans against local administration after the authorities sealed bars and pubs along the highway following a directive from the Supreme Court. On the other hand, the CBI had booked Solanki and his wife for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income in November last year. Polling for the 13 seats of the municipal council was held on Saturday.