BJP pips Cong in Rajasthan local body poll

via LOKPAL SETHI | JAIPUR - The Pioneer published on August 21, 2010

Principal Opposition in Rajasthan, the BJP, on Friday got a shot in the arm when it gained control of 57 of the 126 municipal bodies. The Congress was placed second with win in 49 municipal bodies while independents got the majority in the remaining 20.

These results could be pointer to the changing political climate of the State where the BJP had performed badly both in the last Assembly as well as the Lok Sabha polls.

In November, when elections to 46 municipal bodies were held, the party could gain control only in nine. Situation in the election of Panchayat Raj institutions was no better and the BJP remained far behind its main rival Congress.

There were jubilations at the BJP headquarters here where party workers burst crackers and beat drums to celebrate the victory.

Of the 3,096 wards, BJP won in1,249. Congress got 1,052 seats while the remaining went in favour of smaller parties or independents. Interestingly, for the first time, the BSP was able to get majority in two bodies – Nawalgarh and Deoli. The NCP gained control over Nokha municipal body.

In Ajmer, where BJP was in control of the body during the past 20 years, it lost the post the Mayor’s post to Congress candidate Kamal Bakolia, but retained majority in the municipal corporation. Under the amended Municipal Act, elections of chairpersons of these bodies were held directly. Similarly, at some other places too, if BJP got majority, the post of chairperson went to others.

However, over-all tally shows that BJP has a clear edge over Congress in the elections of chairpersons also.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expressed satisfaction over the results, saying Congress, in the last elections, was in majority in 38 municipal bodies, while now it has emerged victorious in 49.

Talking to mediapersons, state BJP president Arun Chaturvedi said this is the first time that a ruling party got defeated in the municipal elections. “This clearly indicates that Congress was losing ground in the State,” he said.

Chaturvedi claimed that nine independent chairpersons were their rebel candidates.

As new ward members would elect deputy chairpersons of these bodies on Saturday, local leaders of both the parties are trying get the support of independents to ensure the victory of their candidates. In Ajmer, where BJP won 27 of the 55 seats, Congress, which won 23 seats, is trying to win over five independents.

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