Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota cities voted to choose the councillors for 250 wards amid COVID-19 protocol
Over 60% voters exercised their franchise in the polling for the first phase of municipal elections in Rajasthan’s Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota cities on Thursday to choose the councillors for 250 wards. The polling, which was largely peaceful, was conducted amid tight security measures with adherence to the norms for containing the spread of COVID-19.
The Municipal Corporations of Jaipur Heritage, Jodhpur North and Kota North went to polls in the first phase, while the second phase of polling for the three remaining civic bodies will be held on November 1. The counting of votes will take place on November 3.
Chief Election Officer Shyam Singh Rajpurohit said the number of polling stations had been increased to 2,761 and the polling time extended by half-an-hour to ensure compliance with COVID-19 control guidelines. Mr. Rajpurohit visited several polling booths in Jaipur to inspect the arrangements.
Polling was held for 100 wards in Jaipur Heritage, 80 in Jodhpur North and 70 in Kota North, where 430, 296 and 225 candidates, respectively, were in the fray. The voting was held through more than 3,300 electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The State government had bifurcated Municipal Corporations in the three cities in October last year, paving the way for two Mayors in each of them. While the Jaipur and Kota civic bodies are considered the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) strongholds, the Congress has won thrice in the five elections held since the formation of Municipal Corporation in Jodhpur, which is Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s home district.
Mr. Gehlot expressed the hope on Thursday that the Congress candidates would emerge victorious and form the boards in all the civic bodies in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota. “The State government has carried out large-scale development works in the cities… Six Municipal Corporations instead of three have been established to speed up the planned development of these big cities,” he said.
The ruling Congress has sought votes on the plank of development of urban areas, while the BJP alleged lack of transparency and nepotism of the Gehlot government during its election campaign. Surprisingly, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, has contested the polls on its own.