Six districts of Rajasthan gear up for Panchayat polls; CM Ashok Gehlot confident of Congress sweep

The announcement of the Panchayat elections in Bharatpur, Dausa, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur and Sirohi may lead to a delay in the expected expansion of the Ashok Gehlot cabinet

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (File photo)
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (File photo)

Prakash Bhandari

Hectic political activity has begun in six districts of Rajasthan where the elections for Zila Parishads and Panchayat Samitis are due in three phases – two phases in August and the third and last phase in the first week of September.

The elections would be held in Bharatpur, Dausa, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur and Sirohi.

The announcement of the Panchayat elections may lead to a delay in the expected expansion of the Ashok Gehlot cabinet.

With the model code of conduct coming into force in these six districts, the government is not expected to make crucial changes in the next month in terms of governance.

“The government is unlikely to make appointments in the cabinet or reshuffle it now that the dates for the Panchayati Raj elections have been announced. As a result, the cabinet expansion will be on hold for at least a month,” said a senior Congress leader.

After a recent meeting of the election management committee of the Rajasthan unit of the Congress for the upcoming by-elections in Vallabhnagar and Dhariawad constituencies, it is clear that after the Panchayat elections, the party will focus on the bypolls, which may put the cabinet reshuffle on hold indefinitely.

The Rajasthan High Court has stayed Panchayat body elections in three districts of Kota, Baran and Karauli owing to a petition challenging the delimitation of the Panchayats.

State Election Commission’s chief PS Mehra has said that the commission will move the High Court with a plea that the elections should be allowed to be completed before October 31 as per the directive of the Supreme Court.

Mehra said that the SEC will seek any specific directives on the three districts of Kota, Baran and Karauli. However, the SEC will have to wait till August 13 when the hearing would come up in the High Court.

Mehra informed that elections will be held for 200 Zila Parishad members, 1,564 Panchayat Samiti members, six Zila Pramukhs and Up-Pramukhs, 78 Pradhan and Up-Pradhan posts.

He said that 77,94,300 voters are registered in six districts, out of which 41.23 lakh are men and 36. 71 lakh are women.

Out of the 33 districts in the state, elections of Panchayat elections in 21 districts were held last year.

In the third and last phase of the Panchayat elections, 22 Vidhan Sabha constituencies would be involved and there are six ministers who belong to these constituencies.

The BSP and independent MLAs are supporting Congress in the elections.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had recently announced that the ruling party has completed 64 percent of the promises made to the electorate in 2018 in its election manifesto. He said the state government has performed creditably in handling the pandemic and the electorate would vote overwhelmingly in favour of the Congress.

Gehlot said that his government has fulfilled 321 out of the 501 promises made in the manifesto and out of the remaining 180 promises, the implementation process on 138 is currently on. He said COVID had impacted development work, but the state government has responded by reshaping the planning.

The manifesto review committee of the AICC headed by Tamradhwaj Sahu has expressed satisfaction on the performance of the Gehlot government.

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