THE results of the elections of 126 municipal bodies in Rajasthan, held on August 18, are the clear indicators that ruling Congress party is losing its political grounds in the State, where it came to power less than two years back. On the other had principal Opposition has the reason to cheer as after facing humiliating defeat , first in the Assembly elections followed in the Lok Sabha and again in the January’s election of Panchayat Raj Institutions, party has bounced back.
In these elections BJP out smarted the ruling party by winning majority in 57 of the municipal bodies, where as Congress got majority in 49 municipal bodies. In two BSP got the majority and NCP in one. In the remaining 17, independents secured the majority seats. In the elections of deputy chairpersons, BJP again has an edge over the Congress by winning 61 municipal bodies with the support of independents , where as the Congress had to content with only 48 posts.
Ward wise break up shows that BJP emerged victorious in 1,259 of the total 3,094 wards, where as Congress had to content with 1,158 seats. This was in contrast to the elections of 46 municipal bodies in November last, in which Congress was able to capture 35 bodies. In all the previous elections, Congress secured more votes than BJP . But in the elections of 126 bodies, vote percentage of Congress came down by little over 2 per cent in comparison of BJP. Congress got 37.19 per cent votes, where BJP secured 39.87 per cent votes.
Except CP Joshi, Union Rural Development Minister and president of the Pradesh Congress Committee who had admitted that results were far below the expectations, most other senior party leaders, including Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, are trying to see these results in their favour by comparing them with the elections of these bodies five years back . During those elections, when BJP was in power, Congress had won in 33 bodies, where as BJP got majority in 81. Joshi and Gehlot were so confident of winning these elections that they decided not to campaign for candidates. A day before the elections, Joshi said that since local issues are involved in these elections, we have decided to leave the elections to the local leaders of the party. But according to party sources, during their internal analysis, leaders felt that results should be taken as wake- up call by the party as outcome shows, people are not satisfied with the performance of party’s government.
Past results of these bodies show that generally electorates favour ruling party candidate. “But this is the first time that electorates came out against the ruling party as their elusion with its government was over”, says Arun Chaturvedi, State BJP president.
These elections were spread over in 31 of the 33 districts. Result shows in the constituencies of 13 ministers of Gehlot government that the performance of Congress was poor and BJP was able to gain majority in these areas.