Raj: Cong makes comeback in urban local polls after Panchayat reverse

New Delhi


After the loss in Panchayat polls in Rajasthan, alarm bells were ringing for Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot but in the just-declared urban local poll results, the Congress pipped the BJP and made inroads in urban areas which had been strongholds of the saffron party.

As per the State Election Commission, the ruling Congress won 620 seats, BJP won 548 and independent candidates bagged 595 of the total 1,775 councillor/members' posts in urban local bodies for which results were declared on Sunday.

The Congress is now trying to make up for the loss of the Panchayat polls and to win maximum seats for the post of Chairman and the party has to face the test again with the election scheduled for December 21.

A jubilant Gehlot thanked the workers and the voters for keeping faith in the Congress party as the urban body results will compensate the loss in rural polls. Gehlot had blamed Covid-19 for the party's loss in the Panchayat polls, saying the results were not as per the Congress' expectations.

But insiders in the party feel that though the urban poll results did not compensate the rural poll loss but it has given a reprieve to the Chief Minister who is fighting on two fronts - on internal revolts and the BJP onslaught to try and pull down his government.

Sensing danger, Gehlot had attacked his detractors in the party while inaugurating a Congress office in Sirohi district recently before the results of Panchayat polls, saying the state government was saved from a crisis as the senior leaders suspended the rebels within the party fold. He had also accused the opposition BJP of restarting a "Game of Thrones" yet again to topple his government.

The rebel leaders he was hinting at include former Pradesh Congress Committee chief and ex-Deputy CM Sachin Pilot and his loyalists Ramesh Meena and Vishvendra Singh, who were suspended and removed as state ministers after Pilot along with 18 MLAs went to Manesar in an open rebellion against the Gehlot leadership, earlier this year.

The central leadership of the party went into a damage control mode then to sort out the matter before things went out of control.

In a setback to the Congress in Rajasthan last week, the opposition BJP had swept 1,911 seats in the Panchayat Samiti polls while the ruling party was limited to 1,781 seats. Independents won 425 seats, the Bahujan Samaj Party got 3 seats while the CPI-M captured 16 seats while the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party got 57 seats. - IANS