The Congress continued its good run in Rajasthan by winning most of the Zila Parishad, Nagar Palika/Nagar Parishad, and Panchayat Samiti seats in the bypoll results declared Wednesday. The Congress won four Zila Parishad seats while the BJP won one; in the Nagar Palika/Nagar Parishad, it won four seats compared to the BJP’s two. Congress won 12 Panchayat Samiti seats while the BJP won eight. Independents won one Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti each. Congress won one Zila Parishad seat each in Barmer and Dungarpur and two seats in Karauli, while BJP won in Jhunjhunu.
Sushma Rani of the Congress was edged out in Udaipur by independent candidate, Leela, who won by a margin of 161 votes. In all, the Congress wrested two Zila Parishad seats from BJP, while retaining two others. However, the lone Zila Parishad won by the BJP in Jhunjhunu was earlier held by the Congress.
In Nagar Palika/Nagar Parishad seats, Congress wrested from BJP one seat each in Ajmer and Sirohi, apart from one in Jhunjhunu which was earlier held by an independent, and retained the fourth seat in Tonk. BJP retained both bypoll seats in its bastion Dholpur.
In the Panchayat Samiti, Congress won all the bypoll seats in Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Bikaner, Bundi, Churu, Dausa, Rajsamand, while BJP won all bypoll seats in Chittorgarh, Jodhpur, Nagour, Pratapgarh and Udaipur. The parties shared the honours in Tonk by winning a seat each. Lone independent candidate to win, Dinesh Kumar, was elected unopposed from ward number three of Hanumangarh’s Bhadra Panchayat Samiti, which was earlier held by BJP.
Three candidates of the Congress — two in Bhilwara and one in Bharatpur — were also elected unopposed.
In total, Congress retained six seats, wrested four from BJP and one from an independent candidate. BJP wrested two seats earlier held by independents, but could not wrest any seat from Congress, while six other seats were retained by BJP.
The results come in the backdrop of a decisive victory of the Congress in Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha and Mandalgarh Vidhan Sabha bypolls, where it also won all the Assembly seats in Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Congress state president Sachin Pilot said, “Before the Prime Minister speaks here on Thursday, the people of Rajasthan have spoken.” PM Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Jhunjhunu on Thursday to inaugurate the pan-India expansion of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme.
Pilot said that the bypolls were held across 21 of state’s 33 districts, and that Congress won urban and rural seats, so the results are indicative of the prevailing “mood” of the people.
The BJP did not issue a statement on the results. A BJP leader said, “The results further indicate the changing (caste) equations which had led to the party’s loss in LS bypolls. However, Panchayat bypolls don’t have much bearing on the rest of the state.”