Rajasthan: local bodies elections
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2016: BJP leads
BJP recorded its third consecutive victory in local body elections in the country in the backdrop of the Centre's demonetisation initiative when it edged past rival Congress in byelections held for panchayat and municipal seats in Rajasthan.Earlier this week, BJP won the civic elections in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Of the 24 panchayat samiti seats for which bypolls were held in Rajasthan, the ruling BJP won 12 seats, the opposition Congress 10 and independents two. BJP also won two of the three zila parishad seats where polls were held. While BJP won in Banswara and Bhilwara zila parishads, Congress won in Jalore.
Of the 10 municipal council seats in nine districts where polls were held, BJP won five, Congress three and independents two. Polling was held on November 29. State Congress chief Sachin Pilot said, “Bypoll results generally go in favour of the ruling party . Still Congress' performance is satisfactory . Congress has won panchayat samiti seats in Atru (Baran), Srimadhopur (Sikar), Abu Road and Reodar (Sirohi) that were earlier with BJP.“
He added that in bypolls held in the last three years, Congress' voting percentage has improved. “Wherever we lost, the margin was very small. BJP has failed to deliver its promise, so its support is shrinking,“ he said.
Congress ahead of BJP in bypolls for panchayats, municipal bodies
Congress has surged past BJP in the bypolls for panchayat and municipal bodies held last Sunday in Rajasthan, where assembly polls are due next year. Congress made a clean sweep in the zila parishad bypolls by winning all four wards in Banswara, Bhilwara, Jalore and Karauli districts.
In the bypolls for 27 panchayat samiti member seats across 19 districts, Congress pocketed 16, limiting BJP to 10. The remaining seat went to an Independent. The results of the bypolls, necessitated for several reasons including death, disqualification and resignation of elected members, were declared on Tuesday.
Even as BJP won one seat more than Congress in the municipal bypolls held in 12 districts, the two nagar palika seats that the opposition party won here were from Baran district, part of the Lok Sabha constituency of Dushyant Singh, son of CM Vasundhara Raje.
Before the assembly elections next year, Rajasthan will witness bypolls for two Lok Sabha seats — Ajmer and Alwar — and one assembly seat — Mandalgarh (Bhilwara). Bypolls for these seats have been necessitated due to deaths of three BJP members.
March: Cong sweeps bypolls
Opposition Congress outdid the ruling BJP, bagging 20 of the 33 seats of panchayati raj institutions in Rajasthan where bypolls were held. Congress won four of six zilla seats, 12 out of 20 panchayat samiti seats and four of six civic body seats, officials said. The wins follow victories in bypolls to two parliamentary seats and an assembly seat.
Congress was able to double its numbers from 10 to 20, while BJP’s numbers were reduced to 11 from 18 seats. Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot said, “CM Raje accepted defeat in bypolls to parliamentary and assembly seats. The result of local bodies’ bypolls today indicates a farewell to BJP from the state.”
2018: minimum education criteria abolished
Rajasthan will once again have direct elections for mayors and chairpersons in urban municipal bodies. The previous Vasundhara Raje government had discontinued the practice introduced by the Ashok Gehlot government of 2008-2013.
The Congress government’s first cabinet meeting held on Saturday also approved to do away with the minimum education qualification required to contest panchayat and urban bodies’ elections. The education criteria was introduced by the previous Vasundhra Raje-led government, which stipulated that for contesting the zila parishad or panchayat samiti polls, a contestant must have a minimum qualification of secondary education (Class X). To contest the sarpanch elections, an aspirant from the general category must have passed Class VIII and a SC/ST aspirant must have passed Class V.
The previous BJP government’s other orders that were reversed by the cabinet on Saturday included reopening of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Law University formed by the Gehlot-government in 2013. The university was shut down by the previous BJP government citing “feasibility issues” on November 25, 2015. Similarly, the Haridev Joshi University of Journalism and Mass Communication, which was founded by the previous Gehlot-government but was shut down by the Raje-government in 2016, will also be reopened.