JAIPUR: The Ram Mandir verdict and abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir seemed to have failed to make a mark in Rajasthan municipal elections but the EWS masterstroke played by the Congress government a month before elections, has certainly made an impact as Congress got a clear majority in at least 20 municipal bodies.
The urban bodies, which were once considered to be the stronghold of the BJP in the state, also came into Congress' kitty after results were declared on Tuesday. The civic unit elections were held on November 16.
While Congress won 973 wards out of 2105, BJP won 737 wards in municipal elections. Surprisingly, independents won 393 seats thereby becoming kingmakers in around 22 civic units.
The Gehlot government in Rajasthan, just a month before elections, abolished the land and buildings-related provisions which posed a hindrance to the implementation of 10 per cent reservation for the economically backward classes in the state. The state personnel department issued an official notification regarding the abolition of the provisions making the maximum annual income of Rs 8 lakh as the only basis to avail the benefit of this reservation.
While making this announcement, the CM had said, "Due to the terms and conditions mentioned in implementing EWS reservation, people from economically backward category were not getting due benefits, hence I propose central government to follow the same decision so that people in India benefit out of it."
Since then, people from upper castes including Brahmins, Rajputs and Baniyas, considered as BJP's vote bank had been swarming to Gehlot's residence to thank him for the initiative. There were big hoardings seen in the state capital with different organisations expressing gratitude to the CM.
The decision definitely came as a game changer for the party, said Archana sharma vice-president, Pradesh Congress Committee, Rajasthan.
"For over last 10 months of our working, people were watching us fulfilling all due promises we made to the people of the state. In fact people started trusting us and our work. Secondly, with modification in EWS model, they saw that we can also go beyond our promises to do the best for them when required and this is why even urban bodies have voted for congress this time," she said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Gehlot had termed this victory as a stamp on his good governance. He said: "Voters are quite intelligent and they keep an eye on what is happening in the nation, state and local level. They have voted the same way in Rajasthan as they did in Haryana and Maharashtra. I would like to tell them that we shall do our best for them and the state."
The BJP, on the other hand, has accused the Congress of misusing the government machinery in the civic body elections.
The BJP state president Satish Poonia said: "The government adopted all ways and means to emerge winner. Firstly, Congress made an announcement to hold direct elections for civic bodies immediately after Assembly elections and later after seeing results of Lok Sabha, announced to go back to indirect elections. It further opted for delimitation of wards which was supposed to be done in the year 2021. They created new wards depending on their comfort level. Eventually, the party won in places with lesser number of people as the ministers, MLAs convinced the voters. However, the places where there were large number of voters, failed to fall into the trap and hence BJP came up as winner in these wards."
He congratulated the BJP workers for giving a spectacular show in Udaipur, Bikaner and Bharatpur corporations.