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Pilot questions own govt's move on mayors' elections

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: October 18, 2019  | 22:21 IST

(Eds: adding quote) Jaipur, Oct 18 (PTI) Rajasthan's Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Friday questioned his own government's decision on elections to the posts of heads of urban local bodies. Taking a stand that appeared to go against the view of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Pilot made it clear he was not consulted on the decision that was notified on Wednesday. Two other ministers in the Congress-run state have separately opposed the move that allows people who are not elected councillors to contest for posts like mayors and chairpersons of corporations and municipalities. The non-councillor candidates still have to be elected by councillors to the top posts. "This is not a good decision and I do not agree with this. The decision is not practical and not politically right and there is a need to make changes to the decision," Pilot told reporters in Jhunjhunu. "We decided to hold indirect election for the posts of mayor and chairperson. This was fine. But suddenly a new decision appeared that I came to know from newspapers. This was not discussed in the cabinet or the legislative party meeting," he said. Pilot, who is the Rajasthan Congress president, claimed that the new system, which is being called a hybrid, will allow people to become urban body heads through the back door. He said democracy is not strengthened if a candidate who could not win a councillorsí election is allowed to contest for the mayorís post. "Our party and the government have always said that democracy should be strengthened," he said. "I do not think such a system has been implemented in any state of the country," he said, adding that the decision needs to be changed. A gazette notification to amend the rules on election of mayors and chairpersons was issued on Wednesday. On Thursday, Food and Civil Supply Minister Ramesh Meena and Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas separately expressed apprehension, saying it could lead to resentment among party workers. Khachariyawas said the system was injustice to those who worked in the field and won councillorsí elections. When asked about the comments by these two ministers, Chief Minister Gehlot said everyone is concerned about delivering good governance. "The cabinet, all MLAs and the entire government is engaged in that. Elections for the local bodies and the Panchayati Raj are coming. We will fight and will win the elections," the chief minister told reporters in Jhunjhunu. Pilot and Gehlot were together in Jhunjhunu where they addressed a rally in support of Rita Chaudhary, who is contesting the assembly bypolls for the Mandawa seat. Later, they talked separately with the media. Reacting to the development, BJP state president Satish Poonia said a government cannot do good to people when it's in itself divided on issues. "The Congress has always betrayed people. It is misleading people. When its ministers are expressing dissatisfaction with the decision then how can the government do good for people," he said. Rifts in Rajasthan Congress surfaced after the Assembly elections last December that were followed by intense lobbying for the chief ministerís post. While Gehlot was picked by the central leadership for the top post, Pilot had to settle for the deputyís spot. Recently, Pilot expressed concern over the law and order situation in the state and his remark were seen as a comment on Gehlotís performance. PTI SDA RDK ASH ASH 1810 2038 NNNN RDK RDK

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