The Congress has worked for development, its party president said (Representational)
The prestige of both the Congress and BJP is at stake as six municipal corporations in the three Rajasthan cities that will go to polls today.
While the ruling Congress eyes to return to power in the urban bodies, riding on the confidence that the voters are satisfied with the state government's performance, the BJP faces a challenge to maintain its dominance.
Over 35.97 lakh voters will elect 560 ward councillors in two phases in the six newly-formed municipal corporations of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota (Jaipur Heritage, Jaipur Greater, Jodhpur North, Jodhpur South, Kota North and Kota South).
The first phase of polling will be held today in the Jaipur Heritage, Jodhpur North and Kota North municipal corporations, where over 16.54 lakh voters will cast their votes to elect 250 ward councillors.
The second phase of polling will take place on November 1 and votes will be counted on November 3.
In the last polls, the BJP had formed its board in the three local bodies, which increased to six corporation areas after a delimitation exercise carried out by the Congress government in the state.
The corporation polls are being seen as a battle of prestige for many Union and state ministers, including Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Jodhpur is Ashok Gehlot's hometown and Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat also belongs to the city.
Kota is the hometown of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla as well as of state minister Shanti Dhariwal.
The prestige of the Congress's chief whip in the Assembly, Mahesh Joshi, and minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas is at stake in Jaipur, along with that of state BJP President Satish Poonia.
All three cities are known to be the strongholds of the BJP. In the last election, the BJP had formed its boards in all three cities and it hopes to repeat the feat. According to Mr Poonia, the Congress has failed to live up to its promises made in the run-up to the 2018 state Assembly polls.
"Development works have come to a standstill, so the frustrated and troubled voters are ready to teach the Congress a lesson in this election. I am confident that people have made up their minds to ensure the Congress's departure from the state, starting with the local bodies polls," the state BJP chief said.
State Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra exuded confidence that the voters of the three cities will give their approval to the party based on the work done by it.
The Congress has worked for development, be it in the corporation areas or in cities, he told news agency PTI, adding that people are satisfied with the historic work done by the state government during its nearly two-year-tenure, in spite of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
"People are confident that the Congress is doing a good job by taking everyone along. They will surely stand with the Congress and the party will form the boards," Mr Dotasara said.
Mahesh Joshi, who is overseeing the election management of the Congress in the Jaipur Heritage corporation, is also hopeful that the voters will go with the ruling party.
"Excellent plans for development, excellent management during the coronavirus pandemic and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's attempts to live up to the aspirations of the people... The boards will be formed by the Congress," he said.
The Rashtriya Loktantric Party (RLP), a constituent of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre, is contesting the civic body polls on its own.