August 27, 2021 10:13:15 am
Nearly 61.41 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first phase of Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls in six districts of Rajasthan on Thursday, according to the State Election Commission (SEC). Polling started at 7.30 am and ended at 5:30 pm.
As many as 1,721 candidates are in fray for 521 Panchayat Samiti member posts in Bharatpur, Dausa, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur and Sirohi in the first phase while 26.55 lakh voters are eligible to vote across 3,599 polling booths, said P S Mehra, the State Elecion Commissioner.
Polling for second and third phase in these districts will take place on August 29 and September 1, respectively, while counting will take place on September 4 at the respective districts headquarters.
The polls are crucial for both the Congress and the BJP as it includes the turf of both Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and BJP state president Satish Poonia, with the latter actively campaigning in Jaipur rural. While Gehlot is an MLA from Sardarpura in Jodhpur, Poonia is an MLA from Amber in Jaipur.
Among others, the polls will also test the grasp of cabinet minister Lalchand Kataria, as well as Ministers of State Mamta Bhupesh, Rajendra Singh Yadav, and Bhajanlal Jatav on their respective constituents. Among others, Sachin Pilot loyalist Indraj Gurjar and independent MLA Alok Beniwal are also being put to test in their constituencies.
The polls assume significance for Congress, which had suffered a loss of face as it trailed behind BJP in Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls in 21 districts which were held in October – December last year.
Back then, the BJP managed to elect Zila Pramukhs to 12 Zila Parishads and Congress had to contend with five Zila Pramukhs. Of the 636 Zila Parishad member posts across 21 districts, the BJP had won 353 and the Congress won 252.
As for the panchayat samiti pradhan posts, out of the 4,371 panchayat samiti member seats, the BJP had won 1,989 compared to 1,850 bagged by the Congress. However, the Congress eventually managed to elect 97 pradhans, just one less than BJP’s 98.
SEC officials informed that 653 candidates are in fray for the 200 Zila Parishad posts while 5,173 persons are vying for 1,564 Panchayat Samiti member posts over three phases.
After some were elected unopposed, elections are being held to elect 199 Zila Parishad members, 1,583 Panchayat Samiti members, apart from six Zila Pramukh, up Zila Pramukh as well as 78 Pradhans and up-Pradhans.
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