Despite suffering heavy electoral reverses in Assembly polls in five states, the BJP today had something to cheer in Assam ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, as it made significant gains in the elections to the State panchayat bodies where its presence was thin.
The BJP was poised for a substantial leap in its rural vote share, bagging 481 of the 1,089 gaon panchayat seats whose results were declared till 5 pm on Wednesday. The Congress won in 294, while the AGP got 115. The AIUDF was a distant fourth at 14, while 175 elected members were independents.
Similarly, of the 71 declared gaon panchayat president post results, 33 were clinched by the BJP, 20 by the Congress and 10 by the AGP. Thirty of the 58 elected anchalik panchayat (AP) members were from the BJP, 15 from the Congress and eight from the AGP. The AIUDF got two AP members and three were independents.
Though the rural voter gravitated towards the BJP, the result trend showed that the Congress was not entirely rejected.
The political gamble of going it alone in the panchayat polls paid handsome dividends for the BJP, though there were theories that it was in a “secret understanding” with its alliance partner in the State AGP at the grassroots level. The polls are sure to increase the worries of the AGP as it saw its grassroots base eroding in many places. The AIUDF saw a steep fall in support in some of its bastions.
Counting began at 8 am today in 40 centres across the State amid tight security. Initially, the postal ballots were counted after which the ballot boxes were opened.
“No major incident was reported during the counting. There were some minor situations outside the counting centres at a few places but they were tackled by security forces,” State Election Commissioner HN Bora told the
media, adding that counting will continue throughout the night without any halt. The final results are expected by tomorrow evening.
Earlier, around 734 candidates contesting in various panchayat seats were declared winners uncontested. Of them, 380 are from the BJP, 193 from the Congress and 28 from the AGP. AIUDF candidates got through uncontested in ten seats, CPI(M) in one, BPF in five and independents in 117 seats.
Altogether 78,571 candidates contested for the 26,808 panchayati raj institution seats.
In the last polls to the rural bodies, the Congress had bagged 273 of the 420 zila parishad (ZP) constituencies, receiving 65 per cent of the vote share. The AIUDF had got 76 ZP seats, followed by the AGP (29) and the BJP (15). In the anchalik panchayat polls last time, the Congress had got 1,235 of the 2,200 seats, followed by the AIUDF (397), the AGP (182) and the BJP (130). In the GP president polls in 2013, the Congress had got 1,223 of the 2,200 seats, followed by the AIUDF (387), the AGP (183) and the BJP (106). In the GP member polls, the Congress had got 10,806 of the 22,000 seats, followed by the AIUDF (2,623), the AGP (2,309) and the BJP (1,529).
The panchayat polls in the State were held in two phases on December 5 and 9. Repolling was held in 16 stations of Karimganj today. An estimated 83 per cent of voters exercised their franchise there.
The last polls to the local bodies were held between December 2012 and February 2013.