Municipality polls: BJP Muslim candidates sweep Salaya
Salaya, a small Muslim-majority town in Jamnagar district of the Saurashtra region, gave the BJP a pleasant surprise Tuesday by throwing out the Congress completely after some 25 years, since this municipality came into being.
Not only has the BJP captured all 27 seats of the municipality, 24 of these are Muslims fielded by the saffron party for the first time. So far, the BJP used to field Hindus in this municipality.
The town in the coastal district is part of the Khambhaliya constituency which was won by Congress turncoat Poonam Madam, who got a BJP ticket hours after she switched from the Congress in the December Assembly elections.
Even in south Gujarat at least two Muslim candidates fielded by the BJP for the first time won.
Salaya recorded just 46.47 per cent voter turnout, the lowest in the state in this election. Salaya was also the only municipality where women turned out in larger numbers (57.06 per cent) than men (36.73 per cent) of the 16,108 voters, which is the lowest in the district.
The BJP won 47 of the 75 nagarpalikas whose results were declared on Tuesday. Polling was held on Sunday for 76 nagarpalikas of which the results of Bhachau in Kutch district were withheld.
"Going by the latest available figures, the BJP had fielded 140 Muslim candidates in these elections, of whom 85 have won, which is an impressive figure," said Gujarat BJP Laghumati Morcha president Sufi Mahebub Ali Bawa Chishti. He said most of the nagarpalikas were in Saurashtra region where Muslims helped the BJP win.
According to Kadar Salot, general secretary of the BJP's Pradesh Minority Morcha, 49 Muslims won on BJP tickets from Saurashtra and Kutch. Apart from Salaya, Muslims won in Kodinar (8), Manavadar (1), Vanthali (1) and Visavadar (1) of Junagadh district, Rajula (3) in Amreli district, Talaja (2) in Bhavnagar district and Dhrol (1) in Jamnagar district.