December 29, 2016 8:55:22 pm
The results for 2,891 out of 8,624 gram panchayats in Gujarat, which went to polls on December 27, came out today, following which both BJP and opposition Congress claimed their respective victories. As soon as the results stared tricking in, at least two incidents of clashes were reported between groups of rival candidates in Vadodara and Banskantha districts.
While the ruling party has hailed their “win” in the aftermath of demonetisation and attributed it to the “village development policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the Congress dismissed it as “tall claims” of BJP and the “victory of Rahul Gandhi over Modi”.
Gram Panchayat polls are not fought on party symbols as candidates need to fight on their personal capacity and each voter is required to cast two votes, one to elect sarpanch and another for electing panchayat member for his ward.
Votes are being counted manually as EVMs were not used in polls. “Till evening, counting is over for 2,891 gram panchayats, both for members as well as for (the posts of) sarpanch. Since counting is done manually, the process would go on till late night,” a State Election Commission official said.
BJP has claimed “80 per cent” of elected representatives are associated with the party. “Out of those elected till now, 80 per cent representatives have the BJP’s support. In coming days, BJP will organise ‘sarpanch conclaves’ across state to establish better coordination,” state unit BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said. He said the poll outcome is the “victory of BJP after demonetisation and of policies of village development adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
Congress said “70 per cent” elected sarpanchs are associated with the party some way or the other. “Around 70 per cent sarpanchs elected today were directly or indirectly associated with Congress and its ideology. It’s very clear that BJP has lost this election. We are surprised about BJP’s tall claims,” state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said at a press conference.
He said rural voters are not happy with BJP, mainly because of the Centre’s demonetisation move. “It was a fight between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi and it was Rahulji who came out victorious. Rural voters rejected BJP mainly because the note ban decision, which has crippled rural economy,” he added.
In the polling held in 8,624 village panchayats across for the election of members as well as sarpanchs on Tuesday, about 80.12 per cent voter turnout was recorded. Around 1.20 lakh candidates were in fray for 53,116 wards, whereas 26,800 candidates contested 8,527 seats of sarpanchs.
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