The ruling Congress on Tuesday secured control over 20 local government bodies out of the 49 where elections were held last week in Rajasthan, with the BJP reaching the majority mark in only six.
The Congress won 965 out of the 2,105 wards in the urban local bodies, leaving the BJP trailing at 736, according to the results declared by the state election office.
The Bahujan Samaj Party won 16 wards, the CPI(M) got three and the Nationalist Congress Party two in the elections held on Saturday, the first municipal polls since the Congress came to power in the State last December.
Altogether, 385 independents won in the polls conducted across 24 of Rajasthan’s 33 districts.
The results translated into clear majority for the Congress in 20 of the 49 ULBs. The BJP crossed the halfway mark in six urban bodies and the independents form the majority in 23. Both the Congress and the BJP claimed they could muster support from independents to control nine or 10 other municipalities, apart from the ones where they emerged as clear winners.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the results were as expected. “It is a matter of happiness that people have given a mandate considering the performance of the Government,” he told reporters.
Apart from 20 urban bodies which went to the Congress, it claimed it is in a position to form the boards in about 10 more with the help of independent candidates.
“This is a resounding victory of the Congress in the urban local bodies election. Out of 49, the Congress will form boards in about 30 municipalities,” Deputy Chief Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot said.
“Our leaders and workers worked tirelessly for the last seven months and its result is that people have reposed their faith in the Congress,” he said.
He said BJP leader believed that their party has strong roots in urban areas.”But now that myth has been broken,” he added.
BJP State president Satish Poonia said his party would control nine ULBs in addition to the six where it scored a majority. “This is not a major victory of the Congress. We are in a position to form boards in about 15 municipalities, including six where we have got a clear majority,” Poonia said.
In Jhunjhunu district’s Pilani nagar palika, independent candidates won 30 of the 35 wards. The 49 urban local bodies include three municipal corporations, 18 nagar parishads and 28 nagar palikas.
Fourteen candidates were already elected unopposed. Altogether 71.53 per cent of the registered voters exercised their franchise. There were 7,942 contestants, including 2,832 women. Elections to the posts of chairmen and deputy chairmen of the local bodies will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday.