3 Rajasthan civic bodies polls tomorrow, counting of votes on November 3
Polling for election to three municipal corporations of the state – Jaipur Heritage, Jodhpur North and Kota North – will be held on Thursday from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm, said the state election commissioner PS Mehra. He appealed to voters to follow the guidelines put in place to check the spread of coronavirus for safe and peaceful elections.
Mehra said about 1.6 million voters will seal the fate of 951 candidates for 250 wards in the first phase of municipal elections. “We have increased the number of polling stations and increased polling time by half an hour to ensure Covid-19 guidelines are followed,” he said. The SEC appealed to everyone to wear a mask to the polling station. “People without masks will not be allowed to vote,” he said.
A note from the state election department said 3,393 electronic voting machines will be used in the municipal election on Thursday, 30% of them are in reserve.
The second phase of polling – for Jaipur Greater, Jodhpur South and Kota South – will be held on November 1. Counting for both phases will be done on November 3.
The state government bifurcated municipal bodies in three big cities of the state in October last year, making way for two Mayors in each of these. Urban development and housing minister Shanti Dhariwal had said the three cities with population of more than a million will be split into two municipal corporations each and reconstituted.
In Jaipur, the Heritage Municipal Corporation has 100 wards and a population of 1.34 million, and Greater Jaipur Municipal Corporation has 150 wards covering 1.7 million population. Jodhpur was bifurcated into Jodhpur North and Jodhpur South with 80 wards each, and Kota into Kota North (70 wards) and Kota South (80 wards). The decision increased the number of municipal corporations in Rajasthan to 10 – two each in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota, Ajmer, Bikaner, Udaipur and Bharatpur.
Jaipur and Kota municipal corporations have been strongholds of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Congress is seeking to win it on the plank of development while the BJP is seeking votes over the alleged misgovernance of the Gehlot government.
Campaigning in the three municipal corporations going to polls on Thursday ended on Tuesday.
Five Assembly constituencies are covered in Jaipur Heritage Municipal Corporation and four of them are represented by Congress MLAs. Chief whip Mahesh Joshi, cabinet minister Pratap Singh Khhachariyawas, and MLAs Rafeek Khan and Ameen Kagzi are putting their weight behind Congress candidates to form a board in the newly set up civic body.
In Jodhpur, where municipal council was upgraded as municipal corporation in 1994, Congress has won the civic polls thrice in the five elections held for municipal corporation. Soorsaagar MLA Suryakanta Vyas and Jodhpur City MLA Manisha Panwar started their political careers as councillors. Similarly, Bhanwar Balai and Mansingh Deora were also councillors before becoming MLAs. BJP councilor Amita Chaudhary was later elected Zila Pramukh, while Rajendra Gehlot, who was BJP councilor on the previous board, is currently a Rajya Sabha member.
In Kota, KNMC falls in the home constituency of Dhariwal, who has taken the command of the civic polls. For BJP, Churu MLAs Rajendra Singh Rathore and Kiran Maheshwari are handling the campaign in Kota.