Rajasthan Civic Poll Results a Shot in the Arm for Ashok Gehlot
The ruling Congress has secured a decisive win in the recently concluded urban civic body polls in Rajasthan. Out of the 2105 wards spread across 24 across Rajasthan’s 33 districts, the Congress won 961, BJP won 737 and Independents won 386.
As many as 49 urban local bodies - including 3 municipal corporations, 18 nagar parishads and 28 nagar palikas - had voted on Saturday.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot hailed the results and said that they were a reflection of the people’s support for his government.
“The results of the urban local body polls are satisfactory. In the Zila Parishad elections, Panchayati Raj polls and Assembly (Mandawa and Khinwsar) Assembly bypolls, and now the urban local body polls, people of the state have supported the welfare policies and development work done by our government,” he tweeted.
He further said that it has reinforced their commitment to providing “a sensitive, accountable and transparent government and good governance”.
The Congress did well across the state, but a few victories are particularly important:
- In Chittorgarh district, Congress won a clear majority in the Chittorgarh, Nimbaheda and Rawatbhata municipal councils.
- It won 36 out of 60 wards in the Banswara Nagar Parishad. The tribal dominated district is known to be a Congress stronghold.
- In the Barmer Nagar Parishad, the Congress won 33 wards out of 55.
- It won 27 wards out of 40 in Phalodi, in Jodhpur, which is CM Ashok Gehlot’s home district.
- Congress won 34 wards out of 60 in Jhunjhunu and 17 out of 25 wards in Bisau which is in the same district.
- Congress performed impressively in Didwana and Makrana municipal councils in Nagaur district. This is despite the BJP being in alliance with the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, that has some influence in the district.
- In BJP’s stronghold, Kota, which is represented in the Lok Sabha by Speaker Om Birla, Congress managed to win a clear majority in Kaithoon and Sangold councils.
- In Rajsamand, another area where the BJP is strong, the Congress won the Amet and Nathdwara councils. Its win in Amet comes after a very long hiatus.
However, the BJP managed to perform well in districts like Udaipur, Pali and Ajmer. In Ajmer, which is considered the area of influence of Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, the BJP managed to win all three councils: Bewar, Pushkar and Nasirabad.
BJP also did well in the Bikaner Nagar Nigam, winning 39 wards out of 80.
A surprise win for the party was the Khatushyamji Nagar Palika in Sikar, where the BJP captured control after a long time. However, the Congress won a clear majority in the other two councils in the district - Sikar and Neem Ka Thana.
The Congress’ win in the civic polls would come as a shot in the arm for Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. He had to face criticism for the party’s 25:0 drubbing at the hands of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year. Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot also couldn’t win his seat, Jodhpur. Gehlot’s rivalry with deputy CM Sachin Pilot was also harming the party.
But in September, BSP MLAs in Rajasthan joined the Congress, strengthening the CM’s position.
The victory in the Mandawa Assembly bypoll last month - the Congress managed to snatch the seat from the BJP - turned the tide in Gehlot’s favour and the decisive win in the urban civic body polls would ensure that the CM may remain unchallenged for the time being.
For the BJP, the result would come as a disappointment. The party had hoped to gain from the Supreme Court judgment in the Ayodhya case in favour of a Ram Mandir as well as the Union government’s decision in August to render Article 370 ineffective.
However, it appears that the voters decided on the basis of local issues and the advantage that incumbent state governments often have in local polls, helped the Congress win.
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