Jaipur: The state government issued a gazette notification on Wednesday allowing any citizen or non-elected person to stand for elections to the posts of mayors and chairpersons in civic bodies this year. It was recently decided to hold indirect elections for the top posts in municipal bodies.
This is being introduced for the first time in the state. Under the new rule, it will not be mandatory for a mayor or chairperson aspirant to be a councillor to stand for elections. Any person can be proposed by a political party and can be elected by councillors. The Rajasthan Municipal (Election) Rules, 2019, has been amended to the effect after the notification was issued.
The Congress party, which managed to secure the posts of Jaipur’s mayor and Zila Parishad Pramukh recently, is hoping that the new rule would favour them. “The party bagged both the posts, despite BJP having a majority,” a senior Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.
“Vishnu Lahta won as mayor in a house which had 90 councillors, with BJP accounting for 63 members, Congress 18, and nine independents. Even if a party does not get a majority now, there’s the possibility of winning the top post,” he explained.
Elections to 52 local urban bodies will be held this year. Except for Ajmer municipal corporation, five others in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Kota will also go to polls in November-December.
After announcing indirect elections to appoint urban local body heads, the experiment is being carried out by the ruling party to secure its turf in municipalities and corporations. “The first direct elections of heads of civic bodies was held in 2009 when the Congress won the top posts in Jaipur, Kota and Jodhpur without having a majority. According to the feedback from party workers, the new method could yield good results for the party,” the source said.
The new rule has once again given hopes to leaders who were eyeing mayoral posts under the earlier proposed direct elections. After the state government announced indirect polls, many heavy weights, who had planned to contest from both parties, had withdrawn from the contest. Former ministers, leading businessmen and even social activists had earlier lobbied with BJP and Congress for nominations to top posts.