The saffron surge continued in rural Assam with the ruling BJP bagging the highest number of seats in the panchayat election results declared till Thursday afternoon.
The Congress emerged as the main challenger in most districts and succeeded in consolidating its hold over the minority-dominated areas at the expense of the AIUDF.
For a party which was under pressure following protests in the state against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the panchayat election results have come as a big relief for the BJP. The rural polls are being seen by the BJP state unit as a stepping stone to better performance in the general elections next year.
This election is a wake-up call for the AGP and the AIUDF, as both the regional parties have performed far below expectations.
The final results, however, are yet to be declared as counting of votes is still going on.
According to results declared by the state election commission till noon, the BJP has won 5,741 seats of gaon panchayat member, Congress 4,492, AGP 1,476, AIUDF 483, BPF 31, CPM 16, CPI 4, CPI (M-L) 3 and Independents 1,321. There are altogether 21,990 GPM seats in the state.
Of the state’s total 2,199 gaon panchayat president seats, the BJP secured 654, Congress 513, AGP 271, AIUDF 66, BPF 4, CPM 3, CPI 1 and Independents 163.
Of the total 2,199 anchalik panchayat member seats, the BJP won 650, the Congress 470, AGP 127, AIUDF 62, BPF 15, CPI 6 and Independents 116.
Of the 420 zila parishad member seats, the BJP won 80, Congress 45, AGP 18, the AIUDF 3 and Independents 14.
“We have been saying all along that the BJP will bag maximum number of seats and the poll results have proved us right. I am happy that the voters were driven by logic and not swayed away by emotional considerations,” Assam BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said.
“The panchayat poll results are good news for us ahead of next year’s general elections and Assembly elections in 2021. If we can continue our good work and live up to the expectations of the people, I am sure we can perform better in these elections,” Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Assam PCC chief spokesperson Apurba Kumar Bhattacharya said though the Congress had performed relatively well, there was scope for improvement. He said the BJP could not perform as desired despite being the ruling party.
AGP president Atul Bora accepted the people’s mandate and congratulated the BJP for its victory. He said they would analyse the reasons for the party’s poor performance and would continue to work towards strengthening regionalism in the state.