Ahmedabad: Increasing its tally by 01, the Congress party will have 20 Muslim corporators in the newly elected 192-member Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) whereas the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has got its first Muslim woman councillor in Gujarat, according to the state election commission office data.
One independent Muslim candidate Imran Khedawala has also won the election, taking the tally of Muslim corporators in the the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to 21.
The Congress has won in 48 wards of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) increasing its tally by 10 as compared to the last general body. In 2010, the Ahmedabad Corporation had 19 Muslims elected from the Congress out of the total 38 councillors the party had in one of Gujarat's key civic body.
The Congress had fielded 23 Muslims in the AMC 2015 elections, three of them could not win. Among the losers are Syed Shakeel, son of senior Congress leader Syed Khurshid.
Sources said Syed Khurshid had petitioned with Congress President Sonia Gandhi seeking party ticket for his son. He however could not get the votes for him.
Interestingly, like previous elections, the non-Muslim candidates elected from the Congress received en-block support from the Muslim voters. Overall, the party has done well in all areas that have mixture of population of Dalits and Muslims including Dariyapur, Jamalpur, Saraspur-Rakhial, Maktampura, Danilimda, Baherampura, Gomtipur, Bapunagar, Sarkhej and Ramol-Hathijan.
In fact Due to majority of Muslim Councillors, Congress had appointed Badruddin Sheikh as the Leader of opposition in AMC in last term. In 2000 when Congress captured AMC, it had made a Muslim woman as Mayor for second half of five years term.
The BJP had fielded four Muslims in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) 2015 elections but none has won. The party however has been able to get elected Sofia Zahid, a Commerce graduate and wife of local Congress leader, from Rajkot.
Winning from Ward No.1, OBC seat reserved for women, in Rajkot Muncipal Corporation (RMC), Sofia Zahid is the first Muslim woman who has become a corporator contesting the election on BJP ticket.
The BJP had fielded a total of 08 Muslims for Municipal Corporation elections in six cities – 04 in Ahmedabad, 02 each in Jamnagar and Rajkot.
Though the BJP has retained control over six key municipal corporations including Ahmedabad, Surat, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Vadodara, the Congress, which was wiped out of urban Gujarat, has increased its numbers in each of the six civic bodies.
In Zillah Panchayat and Taluka Panchayat elections however the Congress emerged victorious bagging 2509 Taluka Panchayats and 21 Zillah Panchayat against the BJP's 1981 and 06 respectively.
"There was a time, when the Congress candidates were not allowed for campagining in Ahmedabad in earlier elections. This time the equation changed and the Congress got votes in Hindu areas as well though the party lacked in the needed cadre and ground support", Kalim Siddiqui of Congress said while talking to ummid.com.
Interestingly, Ahmed Patel, senior leader of Congress, worked very hard for the revival of the party in urban areas and he also succeeded in convincing Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) Chief Asaduddin Owaisi not to contest election in Gujarat. But, he could not win election in Bharuch - his home turf.