The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cited its performance in Thursday’s Rajasthan civic poll results as a validation of state Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s leadership against a “campaign of calumny and maliciousness” by the Congress.

The Congress, on the other hand, cited adverse results in the Chief Minister’s constituency of Jhalrapatan to point out that corruption scandals and the LalitGate scandal had affected her popularity.

The ruling party recalled its decisive victory in the recent Madhya Pradesh civic elections to similarly hail Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s popularity.

The Congress has been targeting both Chief Ministers for their alleged involvement in LalitGate and Vyapam scams.

PM tweets ‘thank you’

“A big thank you to people of Rajasthan. Congrats to Rajasthan BJP workers and leaders on commendable performance in the civic polls,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The party fielded Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to ask Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi whether the civic poll results had effectively shut him up. “Rahul Gandhi talks a lot these days. Why is he quiet now that his party has lost decisively in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh despite the malicious campaign led by him? What happened? The cat got your tongue?” asked Ravi Shankar Prasad. “We are overjoyed because the Congress had unleashed a campaign of calumny bordering on maliciousness against our Chief Ministers. People have now given a befitting reply to the Congress,” said Prasad.

Till Thursday evening, trends showed that the BJP was leading in 62 of the 113 municipal boards. The Congress was ahead in 25 while others led in 17 municipal boards.

Of the 15 municipal councils, the Congress was leading on eight, BJP on four and independents on three.

The BJP secured a victory in the Ajmer municipal corporation by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The party will now have a mayor in all the seven municipal corporations in the state.

'Overall, the BJP has a vote percentage of 37.16 per cent while the Congress has got 33.77 per cent vote.

Setback for BJP

However, the BJP suffered a setback in the Chief Minister’s pocket-borough of Dholpur, Baran and Jhalawar where it lost badly to the Congress. The Jhalawar municipal council and the Jhalrapatan municipal board, which fall in Vasundhara Raje’s Assembly constituency, were captured by the Congress.

In her son Dushyant Singh’s Lok Sabha constituency of Jhalawar-Baran, the BJP lost Baran municipal council and Anta municipal board. It also lost the Dholpur municipal council.

The Congress was quick to point out that the Chief Minister has lost popularity.

Pilot’s reaction

“Congress won both the municipal council seats in the CM’s constituency. We also won in Dushyant Singh’s constituency. This reflects the hard work of the Congress workers. We have come a long way from our performance during the last Assembly polls,” said Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot.

“Nearly 64 per cent of the electorate voted against BJP in the civic polls. People are now going against the ruling party. BJP has lost moral right to govern,” the Congress leader said.