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Rajasthan Civic Polls: Stung by BJP gains in lottery results, Congress threatens to go to court

“How is it possible that in all the four places where results were decided by lottery (Karauli, Dausa, Gangapur and Ajmer), the BJP won? That seems to be more than just a coincidence”, says Sachin Pilot.

Written by Mahim Pratap Singh | Jaipur |
August 23, 2015 12:03:30 am
congress, bjp, sachin pilot, rajasthan civic election, rajasthan civic polls, sachin pilot congress, vasundhara raje, sushma swaraj, lalit modi, lalit modi ipl, lalit modi row, sushma swaraj row, narendra modi, scam, rajasthan civic election, jaipur civic election, jaipur news, india news Rajasthan Congress Chief Sachin Pilot

While the Congress had found some face-saving moments in the civic poll results on Thursday, the day after pushed the party completely on to the backfoot, with the ruling BJP executing an array of stinging strokes in the post-poll outfield.

When the dust settled down, the BJP had managed to bag the post of chairperson in 87 civic bodies, (against its tally of 67 wins), while the Congress could not swing things in its favour in several places despite having a majority.

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However, Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot was not convinced. He accused the ruling party of using the administrative machinery to “manufacture a majority”. He said the party had recorded the entire episode and would approach the state election commission, the Election Commission of India and the high court.

“How is it possible that in all the four places where results were decided by lottery (Karauli, Dausa, Gangapur and Ajmer), the BJP won? That seems to be just more than a coincidence,” Pilot told The Sunday Express.

“Till Thursday, they had clear majority in only 47 local bodies and were the largest party in 15-18 others. So how did they manage to head 87 local bodies?” he asked.

“This shows that BJP did not win by popular mandate but through unscrupulous post-poll management,” he said.

But the Congress’s massive loss gave the BJP enough political ammunition to dismiss the charges with ease.

More so, since the debacle came despite a high-decibel campaign — including some unofficial “legwork” by AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi, besides statewide public meetings by Pilot and senior leader Gurudas Kamat.

BJP chief Ashok Parnami said the Congress’s personal attack against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over the Lalit Modi controversy had backfired, and the people had responded by giving a resounding mandate to the BJP.

Raje herself found a small ray of redemption in her political home turf Jhalawar, bagging three municipalities, while having to contend with losing the municipal councils at Jhalawar and Baran to the Congress.

In Dholpur — Raje’s home district — the Congress managed to secure control of all three municipal councils.

But Friday’s focus was on Ajmer — the parliamentary constituency where Pilot lost to BJP’s Sanwarlal Jat last year. A bitter drama played out there till for the post of Mayor of the municipal corporation. Here the Congress’s strategy to take advantage of the infighting between two BJP ministers — Anita Bhadel (MLA Ajmer south) and Vasudev Devnani (MLA north) — backfired.

Before the counting of votes, BJP leader Surendra Singh Shekhawat — backed by Bhadel — sought Congress support against Dharmendra Gehlot, who is from the Devnani faction, of his own party, to which the Congress readily agreed. However, after the voting resulted in a tie with both candidates getting 30 votes each, the result was declared via lottery which declared Gehlot the winner.

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