AAP workers outside Surat office. (Twitter/AAPGujarat)
In the recently concluded municipal corporation elections in Surat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has increased its seat share from 80 out of 116 in 2015 to 93 out of 120 this year. However, the party’s vote share went down by 2.42 per cent, shows an analysis of the final results.
The highest votes polled in the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) election was by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Ruta Dudhagara from Ward 3 (Varachha -Sarthana), where three Congress candidates, either formerly associated with or supporting the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), withdrew in protest after their nominees did not get tickets.
Dudhagara, a Patidar, polled 54,764 votes, of the total 484 candidates across parties on 120 seats.
The AAP won 27 seats with a vote share of 28.58 per cent, while the Congress which did not win a single seat saw its vote share go down by 9.23 per cent.
Entire panel of four candidates each of AAP won on wards 2, 3, 4, 5, 16 and 17 and two candidates in Ward 7 and single candidate in Ward 8.
The BJP vote share in the current election was 49.08 per cent with 26,07,862 votes polled as against 51.5 per cent in 2015, while Congress vote share is 18.69 per cent with 9, 92,912 votes polled as against 39.85 per cent in 2015, AAP polled 15,18,609 votes while NCP’s vote share is 0.83 per cent with 44,281 votes.
Surat city BJP president, Niranjan Janjmera, said, “We know that this time our voting percentage has gone down slightly, but our seats increased by 13 from 80 in 2015 to 93 in 2021. We have also found that there are voters who had given votes to single candidate or two or three candidates, instead of voting the entire panel. Vote share might have gone down because of this (fragmentation) also. We are analysing the figures… we will definitely work out on it.”
Out of 30 wards, the highest percentage of votes cast was in Ward 7 (Katargam-Ved road) at 55.51, in which two BJP candidates — Dr Preeti Radadiya and Devshi Debariya — got 20,708 and 21,186 votes respectively, winning two seats, while two seats went to AAP’s Dipti Sakariya and Dr Kishor Rupareliya who got 22,136 and 21,996 votes respectively.
The highest votes polled by any candidate in the current election were all in Ward 3 where AAP won all four seats. Against Dudhagara’s 54,764 votes, BJP candidate Daksha Kheni got 21,339 votes, followed by Sonal Suhagiya of the AAP with 51,177 votes, BJP’s Bhavna Devani with 18,857 votes, AAP’s Kanu Godiya with 5,4302 votes, BJP’s Dharmesh Sarasiya with 19,570 votes, AAP’s Mahesh Anghan with 52,978 votes and BJP’s Bhavesh Dobariya with 18,662 votes. Similarly, in Ward 2 (Amroli- Mota Varachha), all four candidates of the AAP won with over 40,000 votes each.
From Ward 3, the Congress had given tickets to Dharmik Malaviya (PAAS convenor), Jyoti Sojitra (sitting councillor), Payal Bodarya and Kanji Algotar. Malaviya did not file his nominations over conflict with Congress leaders, while Sojitra and Algotar had withdrawn their candidature. Majority of the 27 candidates who won with an AAP ticket are Patidars.
Gujarat spokesperson of AAP Yogesh Jadwani said, “Dudhagara is a homemaker and her husband works in a private firm. We are lucky that our candidates from Ward 2 and 3 got the highest number of votes among all 484 candidates. This shows how much people loved us and have kept faith in us. We will never turn down their hope.”