After a setback in the recent zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections, the ruling Congress has registered an impressive victory in the urban local body polls held in 12 districts of Rajasthan. The Congress won 620 of the 1,775 posts of ward councillors in 50 local bodies for which the results were announced on Sunday.
With its tally of 548 seats, the Opposition BJP fell behind independent candidates who bagged 595 seats. Seven candidates of the Bahujan Samaj Party, two each of the CPI and the CPI(M), and one of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party also won.
Having won a significant number of seats, the Independents were likely to play an important role in the formation of boards in several municipal bodies. Of the total urban local bodies which went to polls, 43 were municipalities and seven were municipal councils.
Poor show in rural polls
In the panchayati raj polls, the BJP’s zila pramukhs were elected in 12 zila parishads, while the Congress could manage only five zila pramukhs. The Congress and the BJP joined hands to defeat the zila pramukh candidate of the Bharatiya Tribal Party in Dungarpur, following which the BTP threatened to sever its alliance with the ruling party.
Pradesh Congress Committee president Govind Singh Dotasra said his party was set to form the boards in 41 municipal bodies, while the BJP was expected to do so only in nine. “The results clearly indicate that the urban voters are drifting away from the BJP. Its claim of sweeping the local body polls has been exposed. Independents fielded strategically by the Congress are going to support us,” he said.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the people had reposed faith in the Congress. Congratulating the victorious candidates, Mr. Gehlot said the Congress workers had worked hard during the campaign.
The elections witnessed a record polling, with the average voting reported at 79.9%. The highest turnout at 90.32% was recorded at Nagar in Bharatpur district in the polls for the town’s municipality.
The voting for chairpersons of urban bodies will be held on December 20. The districts which went to polls were Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Baran, Sriganganagar, Kota, Sawai Madhopur, Sirohi, Karauli and Dausa.