JAIPUR : In December 2018, Rajasthan saw a Congress comeback with Ashok Gehlot at the helm. The BJP bastion of Jaipur too had crumbled. But come May 6, it won’t be easy for either the BJP or the Congress to win the seat again because of a changed political environment.It’s the youth and electors up to the age of 40 who are testing the patience of either parties-numbering close to 50% of an electorate of 20 lakh. And, they are restive.
While joblessness, farm crisis, unfulfilled promises of Narendra Modi in 2014 are all debated, some believe the surgical strikes could hand out BJP some advantage. The famous Sahu tea stall off Chauda Raasta of the old city is bubbling with piping hot tea and politics these days. It’s no ordinary stall but one where large pictures of CMs — from Bhairon Singh Shekhawat to Gehlot and Vasundhra Raje — having tea is dots the place. People flow in from 6 am for chai pe charcha through the day.
And, the city’s barometer suggests that a majority are imbued by the nationalist appeal post-Pulwama. Balakot has hijacked all issues — demonetization, GST, Rafale deal, promise of `15 lakh in every bank account. But there is also anger against previous Raje government and the local MP.
Some like Rahul Gandhi’s promise of Rss 72,000 annually in the poor’s kitty. Some even like his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ slogan against Modi. But ask the tea-sipping crowd, what’s the main issue and they cry in unison, ‘nationalism’. “Modi has taught a lesson to Pakistan and nobody else can do that,” 60-year-old, Vasudev said. “We voted for Congress in Assembly polls because we were unhappy with Raje but this is a national election. Modi is the first choice,” said Mohit Gupta, a government employee.
The Congress has played the Vaishya card by nominating former mayor Jyoti Khandelwal against sitting MP Ramcharan Bohra, who has been renominated by the BJP.Ramsahay, 65, living within the walled city is upset that the 150-year-old Rojgareshwar temple was demolished partially during Raje’s tenure to create space. “Modi ji had promised acche din but he has not done any work that we can recount,” he said.
Vijay Singh, a local, angrily states, “Metro work remains unfinished. The entire old city is dug up. The ring road project has not started. Why should we vote for the BJP?” At a sweet shop at Sanganer, Ramnarayan was angry with the BJP. “Bohra never came to this area and did not do any work but we will ignore him and vote for Modi,” he said. Gyaarsi Ram, a farmer, said, “I had voted for Congress in the Assembly polls as they promised loan waiver in just 10 days, but not a single rupee has been waived off.”