In a bid to wrest control over Unjha Municipality in Mehsana district, both BJP and Congress are claiming support of majority of elected Independents. As many as 35 of the total 36 elected members in the civic body are Independents.
While BJP officially did not field any candidate in Unjha Municipality elections, the party leaders claimed that they put up 30 Independents to avoid the negative impact of the Patidar quota agitation.
Congress had fielded five candidates, and its leadership claimed the party also sent in 15 candidates as Independents.
In the results declared on Wednesday, only one Congress candidate won the election.
BJP MLA from Unjha Narayan Patel had earlier said that the party has fielded 30 candidates as Independents and expected at least 17 of them to win.
Talking to The Indian Express on Thursday, the MLA claimed 19 Independents fielded by the party have won the Municipality elections and the next body of Unjha Nagarpalika would be formed by “BJP candidates” only. Among the winners is Narayan Patel’s nephew Kirti Patel.
“We had decided (as a strategy) not to field our candidates under the party symbol to avoid the Patidar agitation impact. And as I told you, 19 of our candidates have won. We will form the body and the president of the Nagarpalika will be from BJP,” said the MLA.
He added that this time, the post of Nagarpalika president is reserved for woman. “We will hold a camp of the (19) elected candidates, somewhere in Ambaji or Becharaji, and unanimously decide name of the Nagarpalika president.”
Meanwhile, Congress leaders in Unjha claimed that 25 elected candidates were with them.
“One of our candidates has won and 24 others are with us. They (BJP) might claim to form the Nagarpalika body, but we will not let that happen,” said Kamubhai Patel, former president of Unjha Nagarpalika.
When asked to name the elected candidates supporting Congress, Kamubhai Patel said, “I will not give you those names. If I do, they might come under undue influence.”
Unjha is considered to be a BJP bastion where the party is in power the past two decades. However, the town was one of the worst affected areas in the state-wide violence following a Patidar rally for quota in Ahmedabad in August. It remained under curfew for three days.
With the Patidar community forming more than 70 per cent population of the town, the community wields decisive influence.