Surat Voters proved themselves outliers yet again as they not only brought the BJP back, but decimated the Congress and brought in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to second the position in the elections to the Surat Municipal Corporation.
In the results to the 120 seats across 30 wards, declared on Tuesday, BJP won 93 and AAP got 27 seats, with Congress unable get a single seat– a fall from the 36 seats it won in the 2015 civic body polls . Taking responsibility of the defeat, Surat city Congress president Babu Rayka resigned from the post.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, who congratulated the people of Gujarat for on Twitter for “the beginning of a new politics”, is expected to arrive in Surat to participate in a victory rally on February 26.
In the 2015 SMC elections, BJP was facing the wrath of Patidar community in Surat in the wake of quota agitations. With the support of Patidar leaders, Congress won 36 out of the 116 seats — of which 26 were from the Patidar-dominated areas. BJP had got 80 seats then with 39.64 poll percentage.
However, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had parted ways with the Congress after the latter gave tickets to only one of the three
names recommended by the PAAS for the civic body polls.
Following this, the PAAS has extended their support to the AAP candidates.
Surat convenor of PAAS Dharmik Malaviya said that results are a slap on the faces of BJP and Congress”, adding that both parties have and “misused” the Patidar community and “played politics”.
“People of Surat have got best alternative in AAP which started its journey from Surat and spread in different parts of state. One more reason why Congress candidates were defeated is due to the statement of Congress leader Jayrajsinh Parmar,” he said.
Malaviya was referring to a purported statement by Parmar attacking the PAAS after the face-off between the organisation and Congress escalated.
Surat city BJP president Niranjan Janjmera said, “Among the candidates, 59 from AAP, 81 from Congress, and 129 from other parties and independents, and six from BJP had lost their deposits .”
The AAP candidates won all the four seats in wards 2, 3, 4, 5,16, 17, and two seats in ward 7 and single seat in ward 8.
City Congress chief Babu Rayka’s son Ruchin Rayka and nephew Shailesh Rayka had also unsuccessfully contested the elections.
Three-time Congress councillors Dinesh Kachhadiya, Dhansukh Rajput, Aslam Cyclewala, Satish Patel are also among the other major leaders who lost.
Taking responsibility for the defeat in the municipal election Surat city Congress president Babubhai Rayka has sent his resignation to the GPCC leaders.
Talking to the Indian Express, Rayka said, “I am not in a position to say anything into the results. I have accepted my responsibility in the party defeat and have given my resignation to the party higher-ups.”
Several Congress leaders reached the Surat city Congress office at Nanpura and took out a photo of president Babu Rayka and threw it on the road and chanted slogans against Rayka. The video of the incident has gone viral on social media. Later in the afternoon, some of the supporters of Rayka also reached the party office and chanted slogans supporting Rayka and senior Congress leaders.
The Athwalines police staff reached the Congress office and got control over the situation and parted both the groups.
BJP state president C R Paatil’s close aide Lalit Vekhariya also lost from ward number 7 (Katargam). Vekhariya was made Surat city BJP vice president by Paatil, and later to contest in the municipal corporation election, he gave resignation.
Surat city BJP president Niranjan Janjmera said, “We have got 13 seats more than last municipal elections and this shows that the public accepted the development works done by BJP in Surat city. The hard work of BJP volunteers and the page committee concept had led to such a massive victory. ”
Gujarat AAP spokesperson Yogesh Jadwani said, “The victory is public and they have put faith on us and our elected councillors will work honestly without carrying out any corrupt activities and also will not allow corruption.Congress has failed as an opposition in the SMC, so the people rejected them.”