Ahmedabad: Narendra Modi's party may not be sure of whether to pick him as its prime ministerial candidate, but the Gujarat Chief Minister is depositing a series of endorsements for their consideration. He was re-elected in December for his fourth consecutive term as chief minister; the European Union confirmed last week that it has ended the boycott that began after the Gujarat riots of 2002; and on Tuesday, the BJP swept local elections held on Sunday, winning 47 of 75 municipal corporations across the state.
Headlining Tuesday's victory is the Salaya municipality in the Jamnagar district of Saurashtra, where 90 per cent of the population is Muslim. For the 27 seats at stake, the BJP put up 24 Muslim candidates, who were all successful. The Congress, which has won the town elections for decades, did not win a single seat.
In the state elections in December, Mr Modi had not fielded a single Muslim candidate, allowing the Congress to question his secularism. The BJP had countered that candidates were picked on the basis of whether they were likely to deliver constituencies.
In recent speeches, Mr Modi has attributed his popularity to what he calls "P2G2" - pro-people good governance. Tuesday's results prove that theory, his party said. "It's a reply to those who have been targeting the chief minister. It's not about religion or caste, it's about good governance. The people of Salaya have voted for good governance,'' commented BJP spokesman Jagdish Bhavsar.
The area has seen huge investment for a new power project and the modernization and expansion of its port in partnership with the Essar group.