Counting of votes for 575 seats in six municipal corporations — Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar — of Gujarat began at 9 am under heavy security and strict COVID-19 protocols. The BJP has made big gains in early leads.

As per the latest data, BJP has won 15 seats in Bhavnagar, 24 in Rajkot, and 52 in Vadodara. In Jamnagar, the BJP has won 50 seats so far while Congress has won 11 seats. Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which is contesting the polls for the first time has hindered Congress’ growth in Rajkot.

Polling for 576 seats in 144 wards across six municipal corporations - Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar, and Jamnagar - was held on February 21.

The State Election Commission (SEC) has said an average 46.08% turnout was registered during voting which was held between 7 am and 6 pm on Sunday. Ahmedabad recorded the lowest turnout of 42.51%, while Jamnagar saw the highest turnout of 53.38%, followed by 50.72% in Rajkot, 49.46% in Bhavnagar, 47.84% in Vadodara and 47.14% in Surat.

All these bodies are currently governed by the BJP. Apart from the BJP and Congress, for the first time, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has jumped into the fray. It is contesting in all six cities. While the BJP has an upper hand in elections to urban local bodies, this time, several senior and multiple-term corporators were denied tickets, leading to disquiet in the party. With Assembly elections due next year, these elections will provide an indicator of the voters’ mood.