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Friday, September 17, 2021

Some good news for Rajasthan Congress, leads BJP in rural polls, Gehlot’s turf

Polling was held for 200 seats in six zila parishads and 1,564 seats in 78 panchayat samitis in Bharatpur, Dausa, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur and Sirohi districts.

Written by Hamza Khan | Jaipur |
Updated: September 5, 2021 1:43:51 pm
Counting of votes in Jaipur on Saturday. (Express Photo: Rohit Jain Paras)

In good news for the ruling Congress party in Rajasthan, it managed to win most zila parishad and panchayat samiti seats in six districts, the counting for which was held on Saturday.

Polling was held for 200 seats in six zila parishads and 1,564 seats in 78 panchayat samitis in Bharatpur, Dausa, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur and Sirohi districts.

The results are some respite for the Congress, which had finished behind the BJP in both the zila parishad and panchayat samiti polls held in 21 districts in November-December last year. On the other hand, the results may make things worse for the Satish Poonia-led Rajasthan BJP, which is already battling factionalism.

Out of six zila parishads, the Congress is set to form Boards in four, after crossing the halfway mark in Dausa, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Sawai Madhopur. In Bharatpur, the BJP fell two short of the majority mark of 19 and will have to rely on Independents to form the Board. In Sirohi though, the Congress received a drubbing, with the BJP winning 17 of the 21 zila parishad member seats.

Overall, out of the 200 zila parishad member seats, the Congress won 99, the BJP 90, the Independents 8 and the BSP 3.

The Congress won the most panchayat samiti seats too, winning 670 of the total 1,564, with the BJP trailing at 551. Independents had the third highest seats, at 290, with the Hanuman Beniwal-led Rashtriya Loktantrik Party also putting up a decent show with 40 seats — mainly in Jodhpur — followed by 11 seats to the BSP. Beniwal had split with the NDA late last year. The results of two seats were yet to be declared till Saturday night.

In Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s home turf of Jodhpur, the Congress won most of the 21 panchayat samitis. In Jaipur too, the Congress was ahead, with the BJP close behind. They were neck-and-neck in a few others, such as the Amer panchayat samiti, where both the parties won 11 seats, one short of the majority mark of 12. A lone Independent now holds the key. BJP chief Poonia is the MLA from Amer. In Jalsu, the other panchayat samiti in his Assembly constituency, the BJP won 12 seats against 9 for the Congress.

Apart from the CM, who is an MLA from Sardarpura in Jodhpur, the polls were crucial for six ministers in his government, among other MLAs and Independents. The Congress managed to win the Jhotwara panchayat samiti (minister Lalchand Kataria is an MLA from Jhotwara Assembly in Jaipur district); and most of the seats in Lalsot and Sikrai panchayat samitis (falling under their namesake Assembly constituencies of ministers Parsadi Lal and Mamta Bhupesh).

Independents hold the key in panchayat samitis falling in constituencies of ministers Rajendra Yadav, Bhajanlal Jatav and Subhash Garg.

In the November-December polls, BJP candidates had emerged as pramukhs in 12 zila parishads while the Congress could swing just five. Of the 636 zila parishad posts across 21 districts, the BJP had won 353 and the Congress 253.

In polls for the 4,371 panchayat samiti seats, the BJP had won 1,989, compared to 1,850 for the Congress. However, the Congress had eventually managed to elect 97 pradhans, just one less than the BJP’s 98.

Congratulating all the winning candidates and Congress workers, CM Ashok Gehlot expressed his gratitude to the voters.

BJP state president Poonia said: “Traditionally, the ruling party in Rajasthan gets a one-sided mandate in the Panchayati Raj polls. But BJP workers managed to prevent it with their hard work.” He added, “It cannot be said that the public has approved the policies of the Congress government, and if you add the percentage of the BJP, Independents and other parties, then it is a mandate against the government.”

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