The BJP today said over 75 per cent of the newly-elected sarpanches in Gujarat belonged to the saffron party, a claim rubbished by the opposition Congress.
The BJP today felicitated hundreds of sarpanches at "Sarpanch Abhivadav Samaroh," organised at the party headquarters.
The function was attended by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and state unit BJP president Jitu Vaghani.
The BJP leaders attacked the Congress governments of the past for ignoring development of villages in Gujarat.
Addressing the gathering, Rupani said his government was committed to the development of villages.
"It is not easy to win the election of Sarpanch because only those who work hard day and night for village can only win because villages have small number of voters.
Past Congress governments at Centre, steeped in corruption, did little for the uplift of villages, while the Narendra Modi government has made policies for all-round development of villages," he said.
Rupani also exuded confidence that the BJP will also win the upcoming elections to municipality and district panchayats.
Vaghani said the BJP government was committed to provide city-like services in rural areas and work for the betterment of farmers.
"Rural population has given thumbs up to the BJP's farmer-oriented and development-oriented policies.
Even in the constituencies where Congress won, sarpanches belonging to the BJP got votes," he said.
However, attacking the BJP over its claims that over 75 per cent sarpanches are supporting the party, Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said the BJP curtailed the rights of sarpanches over years and has suppressed them.
"Sarpanches came to attend the BJP function out of fear that they will not get grants and due to allurement and threat. The BJP government has taken away their rights.
Even in the past elections, more than 70 per cent sarpanches belonged to the Congress. It is a lie by the BJP that majority of sarpanches belonged to them," he told reporters.
After the results of election for around 1,145 village panchayats were announced on February 6, the BJP and the Congress claimed victory for their respective parties.