By: ENS & PTI
The BJP and the Congress were on Thursday running neck-and-neck winning seven and six of the 13 Zila Parishads for which results were announced till the night in the keenly fought Rajasthan Panchayati Raj polls as the outcome for the remaining 20 Parishads was still awaited.
Out of 295 Panchayat Samitis, the BJP bagged 41 with the Congress not far behind winning 31. The Panchayati Raj polls were held in three phases.
Of the 6,236 seats in the Samitis, BJP won 937, Congress 740, Independents 124 and BSP five seats, a spokesman of the state Election Commission said.
The BJP won 174 out of 1,014 Zila Parishad wards while the Congress secured 144 and Independents 3. The counting of votes began at 8 am.
The BJP has won seven Zila Parishads of Chittorgarh, Baran, Jhalawar, Rajsamand, Tonk, Pratapgarh and Sirohi. The Congress won the Kota, Sawaimadhopur, Jaisalmer, Karauli, Kota and Bundi Zila Parishads.
It was the first major electoral test for the parties after the Lok Sabha elections eight months ago when BJP had won all 25 seats. In bypolls held in September last year, BJP had lost three out of four Assembly seats. However, in civic bodies polls, BJP had edge over the Opposition Congress by securing four municipal corporations and scores of municipal bodies late last year.
The Congress appeared upbeat as the results came in. Party leaders pointed out that the difference in vote share between the Congress and the BJP was a whopping 26 per cent in the Lok Sabha elections. While the Congress had bagged 30 per cent of the votes, the BJP got 56 per cent. However, this time the Congress got 46 per cent while the BJP bagged 46.5 per cent of the votes, making the gap just 0.5 per cent.
“This is a resounding comeback for the Congress. The Panchayat elections have shown the resilience of the Congress organisation. This is the time for the BJP to introspect as to why they have lost faith of the people so early in their term. I think the lack of governance in Rajasthan has led to this result,” state Congress president Sachin Pilot told The Indian Express.
“We are very satisfied with the results so far. People in rural areas were unhappy with the government because of its negligence towards important issues like availability of urea for farmers and water and electricity availability. Our workers worked with full dedication and the credit goes to the party workers and leaders,” he added.