Congress wins Rajasthan municipal polls in neck-to-neck fight with BJP
- However, the BJP has won a majority in the Ajmer Municipal Corporation.
Continuing its winning spree in municipal polls in Rajasthan, Congress on Sunday won the municipal polls in a neck-to-neck fight with the BJP and independents in formation of municipal boards in several municipal bodies. The Congress has won 1,197 municipal wards, BJP has bagged 1,140 municipal wards while independents/others have secured 634 wards out of total 3,034 municipal wards.
While the NCP has won 46 wards, the RLP has 13 wards, CPM has won 3 and the BSP has won 1.
While the BJP has a majority/lead of wards in 24 municipal bodies, the Congress has a majority/lead of wards in 23 municipal bodies. There are 41 municipal boards in which independents hold key.
However, the BJP has won a majority in the Ajmer Municipal Corporation which was the only municipal corporation where municipal polls were held in the current polls.
The Congress has maintained its winning spree in the current municipal polls after ensuring lead over the BJP in municipal polls in November and December 2020. However, the party had lagged in the recent panchayat polls but is maintaining a lead over the BJP in municipal polls.
Meanwhile, the NCP surprised everyone by winning an absolute majority in Nokha municipality of Bikaner and being the biggest party in Tonk's Niwai municipality.
For the first time, the NCP will form its municipal boards in Rajasthan.
Elections were held for 3,035 municipal wards of the 90 municipal bodies, including one municipal corporation, nine municipal councils and 80 municipalities.
The BJP won in the Ajmer Municipal Corporation (AMC) polls whereby it won 48 wards. The Congress won 18 wards, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) won one ward and the independents won 13. The Congress failed to dethrone the BJP from the AMC. BJP and Congress workers also locked horns during the results in AMC polls where mild stone-pelting was also reported in a municipal ward.
The BJP has regained its hold over Jhalawar municipal council and Jhalarapatan municipality of former chief minister Vasundhra Raje's constituency Jhalarapatan which was earlier won by the Congress in the last municipal polls five years ago. The BJP won 25, the Congress 17 and the independents won 3 out of 45 wards in Jhalawar while the BJP won 20, the Congress won 14 and the independent bagged one out of 35 wards in Jhalarapatan municipality.
The Congress and the BJP have already started herding their winning corporators for the chairperson and deputy chairperson of the municipal boards.
The performance of Gehlot's cabinet ministers remained a mixed bag. There was a tie between the Congress and the BJP with victory on 14 wards each in Lakshmangarh municipality of PCC chief and education minister Govind Singh Dotasara's home constituency. The board formation would depend on 12 independents in 40 ward municipal board.
However, Congress's defeat in Ajmer municipal corporation was a setback for state health minister, Dr Raghu Sharma, is an MLA from Ajmer's Kektri assembly constituency, however, Congress' triumph in his home assembly constituency Kekri ensured his dominance. Congress won 21 wards out of 40 wards of Kekri municipality to bring a respite to Dr Raghu Sharma. Here, the BJP won 17 wards and the independents bagged two.
While in Bikaner's Deshnok municipality, the Congress won 11 wards and BJP won 10 wards out of total 25 wards.
However, the Congress has won a majority with victory on 15 wards out of 25 wards in Nainwa municipality of Bundi district from where the minister of state for youth affairs and sports, Ashok Chandana, is an MLA. Although the Congress has won 28 wards out of total 60 in Bundi municipal council, the BJP has won 24 here and 8 independents are holding key.
The Congress lagged in Nawa municipality of Nagaur district from where party's deputy whip Mahendra Chaudhary is MLA. Here, the Congress could win just 10 wards while the BJP won 13 wards and independents two of total 25 wards.
The Congress is behind the BJP in minority affairs minister Saleh Mohammad's Pokran municipality where the party could only win nine wards whereas the BJP won 10 and the independent candidate bagged 6 wards.
The NCP remained a surprise winner in the municipal boards in the state where the party won in Nokha municipality of Bikaner district. Here, the NCP won in 28 wards and the BJP in 15 wards while independents won two out of total 45 wards. Here, Narayan Jhanwar, son of ex-Congress candidate from Nokha assembly constituency Kanhaiyyalal Jhanwar in last polls, contested on NCP symbol.
The result was similar in Niwai municipality of Tonk district where the NCP won 17 wards, the BJP won 9 wards, the Congress won 8 and independents bagged one out of the total 35 wards. Here, Congress MLA from Niwai, Prashant Bairwa from Sachin Pilot camp, could not ensure victory to the ruling party.
Commenting on NCP's municipal feat, senior political analyst and veteran journalist, Prakash Bhandari said that "the NCP managed its win but this is certainly not a vote to the NCP as it won on the shoulders of Congress supporters who either did not get a Congress ticket or strategically fielded themselves from the NCP to prevent defeat".
Meanwhile, the Congress and the BJP have claimed their triumph in the municipal polls.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted on municipal polls results, "The municipal results of 90 municipal bodies are pleasant. Congratulations to all the winning Congress candidates and Congress leaders for ensuring victory of the party. I also express gratitude to the voters. The voting percentage and number of wards won by Congress is more and Congress will be able to form its municipal boards in most places".
PCC chief Dotasara on municipal polls results said, "the BJP and its leaders always say that the Congress government will not be able to complete its term in Rajasthan but the party should do self-evaluation after municipal polls results today".
"The BJP had formed its municipal boards in 60 municipal bodies in 2015 and the Congress in 25 but now the BJP is likely to form just 30 boards in current polls which is half from 2015. The Congress will form its boards in 50 bodies which will be double from 2015," said Dotasara.
The BJP contradicted ruling party's claim as state president Satish Punia alleged that CM Gehlot and the party are misleading people by making false claims of their victory in the municipal polls.
"The Congress has lost the poll in Ajmer Municipal corporation and 8 out of 9 municipal councils while it has got a majority in only 19 municipal boards out of 90 municipal boards whose results were declared today," he said.
Punia also asserted that the Congress state government has employed all means of conspiracy, including delimitation and bogus voting, to win the elections.
As per the state election commission of Rajasthan, nearly 22.84 lakh voters cast their votes for municipal bodies on 28 January in which voter turnout was 76.52 per cent.
The 20 districts where municipal polls were held are Ajmer, Banswara, Bikaner, Bhilwara, Bundi, Pratapgarh, Jhalawar, Chittorgarh, Churu, Dungarpur, Hanumangarh, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jhunjhunu, Nagaur, Pali, Rajsamad, Sikar, Tonk and Udaipur.
As per the municipal poll results in these 90 municipal bodies five years ago, 60 were won by the BJP, 25 by the Congress and 5 by independent candidates.