AHMEDABAD: Amid Covid-19 scare, the turnout in the elections to district and taluka panchayats and municipalities remained low compared to the 2015 civic polls on Sunday.
The voting remained particularly tepid in semi-urban areas as 57.55% polling in the 81 municipalities as compared to 62.77% in the previous election. Around 64.70% voted in taluka panchayats (69.18% in 2015) and 63.77% in district panchayats (69.31% in 2015).
Election officials, however, said the turnout was expected to increase after the final figure is calculated and it may be close to the 2015 number.
Barring some stray incidents of violence and boycott of polls in some villages, the process was conducted peacefully. The results will be declared on March 2.
After a decisive victory in the six big cities, a buoyant BJP is looking to replicate its electoral success in towns and villages of the state as well.
The elections are a battle for existence for the Congress, which had made significant gains in 2015 due to an acrimonious Patidar quota stir. The party, however, witnessed its worst-ever debacle in the recently concluded elections for the six municipal corporations.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is contesting 2090 seats in the three civic bodies and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), have spiced up the polls which have remained a two-party affair for decades.
Tribal-dominated Narmada district, the home to the world’s biggest statue, the Statue Of Unity, emerged as the torchbearer for electoral awareness clocking the highest voting (79.16%) in taluka panchayat polls and 79.12 %In district panchayat polls.
Amit Chavda, state Congress president said, “Voting has increased everywhere despite Covid impact in rural areas and municipalities. This is a clear sign of voting against misrule of the state and central government. We are confident of winning more seats than we won in 2015.”
“The voting percentage has increased considerably, which reflects anger of people against misrule of Congress in taluka and district panchayats. The Congress got decimated in municipal corporations and BJP will win over three-fourths of the seats in rural local bodies as well,” said state BJP president C R Paatil.