For the first time in a decade and a half, the ruling party in Rajasthan will have fewer zila pramukh posts than the Opposition party in the state.
In the results declared Tuesday, of the total 636 zila parishad member posts across 21 districts, the BJP had won 353 compared to 252 of the Congress. The BJP is expected to win the zila pramukh seats in at least 13 districts where it has a clear majority, followed by the Congress in 5. As for the remaining three, the two parties are tied in Barmer, and Independents and the Rashtriya Lokatantrik Party (RLP) hold the key in Dungarpur and Nagaur, respectively.
The elected zila parishad members will elect their respective zila pramukhs on Thursday. Of the 33 districts in the state, 21 districts had gone to polls as a case concerning delimitation in the remaining 12 is pending with the High Court. Those seats are currently vacant.
राजस्थान में पंचायती राज और जिला परिषद चुनावों में प्रदेश के ग्रामीण क्षेत्र की जनता, किसानों व महिलाओं ने भाजपा में जो विश्वास प्रकट किया है, इसके लिए मैं उनका आभार व्यक्त करता हूं। यह जीत गांव, गरीब, किसान और मजदूर के प्रधानमंत्री श्री @narendramodi जी में विश्वास का प्रतीक है।
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) December 9, 2020
Reacting to the party’s performance, the Central BJP said the victories in local body elections in Rajasthan, Telangana and Arunachal Pradesh are an indication that people prefer the party and its policies.
BJP president JP Nadda also termed his party’s performance in Rajasthan a symbol of people’s faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Terming the victories a “decisive mandate” in support of the BJP governments’ policies, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar claimed a groundswell of support for reforms in agriculture. He also claimed that the BJP’s history also showed people’s support for farm reforms.
“Despite the corona pandemic, global economic crisis and the Opposition’s propaganda against the farm reforms, people everywhere are opting for the BJP,” Javadekar said in New Delhi.
On Wednesday, the Congress finally broke its silence on the loss, with state president Govind Singh Dotasra saying the “results motivate us to work better in future. By having a better coordination between the government and the organisation, we will perform better in the upcoming elections”.
Dotasra was among the Congress leaders who suffered losses on their home turf. Others included former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot, Health Minister Raghu Sharma, Forest minister Sukhram Bishnoi and Youth Affairs minister Ashok Chandna, among others.
In the panchayat samiti too, as per the final results declared Wednesday, 1,989 BJP candidates won as compared to 1,852 of the Congress. Hence, the BJP is expected to elect more panchayat samiti pradhans on Thursday. This will again buck the trend of the last two elections – of the ruling party electing more pradhans.
Dotasra, however, thanked the voters for “increasing” the base of the party. Despite the losses, the party increased its vote share by 0.7 per cent in the zila parishad polls, and by 1.7 per cent in the panchayat samiti elections, compared to 2015. The BJP’s share, however, has decreased by 2.6 per cent in zila parishad and 2.9 per cent in panchayat samiti.
After the panchayati raj polls, the Congress now faces elections for 43 nagar palikas and seven nagar parishads on December 11. Here, a total of 14.32 lakh voters will choose from 7,249 candidates, who are vying for 1,775 wards. The counting will take place on December 13. —With Liz Mathew in New Delhi.