The Congress put an impressive show in Rajasthan on Tuesday by winning the Mayoral positions in four out of six municipal corporations, days after it won more than half the council seats in just two corporations and had a majority in just one other corporation.
In the results declared on November 3, of the total 560 wards in six corporations — two each in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota — Congress had won 261 against BJP’s 242, while 57 were won by others. On Tuesday, these elected councillors voted to elect their Mayors.
Congress’ Kunti Parihar, 40, and Manju Mehra, 61, won from Jodhpur North and Kota North, respectively, where the party had won more than half the councillor seats. BJP’s Somya Gurjar, 36, was elected from Jaipur Greater while Vanita Seth, 57, was elected from Jodhpur South; on November 3, BJP had crossed the halfway mark in both these corporations.
In Jaipur Heritage, Congress had won 47 seats and fallen short of the majority mark of 51. However on Tuesday, it managed to secure 56 votes, mainly from independents, and Munesh Gurjar, 31, was elected as the Mayor, while BJP’s Kusum Yadav, 44 could only bring the party up from 42 to 44.
The win was engineered by Tourism Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas and Congress Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi, among some of party’s local MLAs, who had sequestered the winning councillors to a hotel and brought in independent councillors to ensure a win.
In Kota South, BJP and Congress were neck and neck with 36 votes each, and either party required at least five more to form the Board. On Tuesday, Congress successfully managed to bring in five votes, taking its total to 41 and electing Rajeev Agrawal, 47, while BJP’s Vivek Rajwanshi, 39, lagged behind with 39 votes. Police also had to resort to lathi-charge after some Congress workers insisted that an independent councillor should deboard the BJP bus, leading to confrontation.
AICC General Secretary and Rajasthan in-charge Ajay Maken tweeted that the party “has secured highest-ever votes in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota Municipal Elections.” He shared an analysis of urban votes in three cities since 1999, according to which Congress’ margin was 2.26 per cent higher than BJP in 2020, better than in 2014, 2009, 2004 and in 1999. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Congress state president Govind Singh Dotasra thanked the party leaders and workers for the win.
BJP state president Satish Poonia said that Congress’ claims of winning all six corporations turned out to be hot air. “Beginning with delimitation and misuse of power, Congress resorted to various measures but even then its claims of winning all six corporations turned out to be hot air. People have given a mandate against Congress; in capital Jaipur, BJP won 141 out of 250 wards. I salute the passion of party workers,” Poonia said.
Claiming that it wanted to improve the governance in three cities, the Congress government had carried out delimitation of wards, creating two corporations in each of the three cities, even as BJP claimed that it was to divide the cities on caste and religious lines so that Congress can get its mayors elected in the traditional BJP strongholds.
The polls to elect Deputy Mayors will be held on Wednesday.
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