A rift has emerged in the ruling Congress in Rajasthan over a new model adopted for the upcoming municipal elections, in which any citizen can contest the polls for mayor and chairperson of a civic body without first getting elected as a municipal councillor. The “hybrid model” allows even a person defeated in the corporator’s election to become the head of an urban local body.A section of the party leaders and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot have opposed the issuance of a gazette notification earlier this week enforcing the amended rules for municipal elections. The civic body polls are due next month.Negative feedbackMr. Pilot, who is also the Pradesh Congress president, said the decision would weaken democracy and encourage back door entry of candidates in the urban bodies. He said the State Urban Development Ministry had taken the decision without discussing it in a Cabinet meeting or in the party organisation.Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ramesh Chand Meena and Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas have called for a review of the decision, while affirming that they had received a negative feedback from party workers on the issue. Mr. Khachariyawas said it would reduce the significance of councillors and weaken democracy at the grassroots.The State government had recently decided to conduct indirect election for the post of mayor and chairperson in corporations and municipalities with the contention that the civic body heads directly elected by public often ignored the councillors and neglected the development works.BJP State president Satish Poonia said the ruling party could not serve the people of the State. “The Deputy CM himself did not know about the development. The split in Congress is wide open,” he said.The State government has also decided to create additional municipal corporations in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota in view of increasing population in these cities.