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BJP wins 7 Zila Parishads, Cong takes six in Raj Panchayat polls

Ruling BJP won seven out of the 33 Zila Parishads while Congress bagged six in the keenly- contested Panchayati Raj polls in the western Indian state Rajasthan.

Out of 295 Panchayat Samitis, Bharatiya Janata Party clinched 41 while Congress sailed through in 31. The Panchayati Raj polls were held in three phases.

Of the 6,236 seats in the Samitis, BJP won 937, Congress 740, Independents 124 and Bahujan Samaj Party five seats, a spokesman of the state Election Commission said.

BJP won 174 out of 1,014 Zila Parishad wards while Congress secured 144 and Independents 3. The
counting of votes began at 8 AM.

BJP has won seven Zila Parishads of Chittorgarh, Baran, Jhalawar, Rajsamand, Tonk, Pratapgarh and Sirohi.

Congress won the Kota, Sawaimadhopur, Jaisalmer, Karauli, Kota and Bundi Zila Parishads. It was the first major electoral test for the parties after the Lok Sabha elections eight months ago when BJP had won all 25 seats. In bypolls held in September last year, BJP had lost three out of four Assembly seats. However, in Civic Bodies polls, BJP had edge over the Opposition Congress by security 4 municipal corporations and scores of municipal bodies late last year.

Panchayat polls were mired in controversy as Rajathan government had issued an ordinance fixing educational qualifications for candidates just days before the poll schedule was announced.

Petitions were filed challenging the ordinance promulgated on December 20, 2014 on the ground that it would take away the rights of the people, particularly of women as in many segments a majority of them have no education.

The SC had on January 5 refused to entertain petitions challenging the ordinance, saying the High Court was the forum for addressing these issues.
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