Nation

Not just anti-incumbency: Modi factor, polarisation pave way for BJP's comeback in Rajasthan

Rajesh Asnani

JAIPUR: After a break of five years, Rajasthan has once again chosen to trust the BJP, granting them a majority in the assembly polls. Continuing the legacy of governments in the state changing with every election, current trends indicate that the BJP has surpassed the majority mark with 105 seats, while the Congress is leading in 83 seats and others are ahead in three seats.

The BJP has done well in all the divisions of Rajasthan except in the Shekhawati region where the Congress has managed a small lead. In eastern Rajasthan too, where the Gujjar vote was said to be decisive and the Sachin Pilot factor was big, the Congress has done surprisingly well, despite Gujjars being angry over Pilot's humiliation.

Jodhpur's Sardarpura assembly seat has proved to be the stronghold of CM Ashok Gehlot who won the election by 26,396 votes against the BJP's Mahendra Rathod. Senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot also won by a landslide victory in the Tonk assembly seat.

BJP leader and former CM Vasundhara Raje won from the Jhalrapatan assembly seat by a huge margin, while former BJP Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won from Jhotwara.

Assembly Speaker and senior Congress leader Dr CP Joshi suffered a defeat, marking the loss of 17 out of 25 Congress ministers, including Parsadi Lal Meena and Pratap Singh Khachariyawas. However, Shanti Dhariwal, the minister closest to Gehlot and considered the main architect of the 2022 rebellion against the Congress High Command, has secured a victory.

In the BJP, both Leader of the Opposition Rajendra Rathore and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Satish Poonia are facing defeat. Among the seven MPs contested by the BJP in the elections, four are leading, while three are trailing, and two amongst them are currently in third position.

Besides the anti-incumbency that has been a tradition in Rajasthan, the BJP's victory can be attributed to a campaign revolving around PM Narendra Modi as well as polarisation among voters in the state.

Gehlot, the unofficial face of the Congress, carried the responsibility of retaining power, emphasising his 10 social welfare schemes and seven guarantees. But he was trumped by the Modi factor. Reacting to the election results, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje asserted that the spectacular victory in Rajasthan is a testament to the leadership of PM Modi.

Another factor contributing to the BJP's success was its robust organisation. The BJP's organisational strength juxtaposed with the weak and factionalised structure of the Congress is seen as a significant reason for the latter's defeat.

Gehlot's schemes, including Chiranjeevi Health Insurance, Pension Scheme, Annapurna Food Packet, Inflation Relief Camp, and seven electoral guarantees, initially tempered the BJP wave. However, these efforts proved insufficient to prevent the BJP from seizing power.

During the election campaign, the BJP aggressively played the Hindutva card, refraining from fielding any Muslim candidates, while the Congress nominated 14 Muslim candidates. The beheading incident of Kanhaiyalal in Udaipur became a major focal point, with the BJP accusing the state government of appeasement. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath intensified the BJP campaign in Rajasthan, playing the Hindutva card.

The Congress's defeat is also being attributed to the granting of tickets to most sitting MLAs. Disregarding party survey suggestions, Gehlot and Pilot allocated tickets to their supporters, a move that is now being rejected by the public. The prolonged power struggle between Gehlot and Pilot over the Chief Minister's post for the entire five years also eroded public trust, despite attempts to project a united front during the elections.

Region-wise position of the BJP and Congress:

Jaipur division, which comprises 5 districts with a total of 50 seats:
- BJP: Leading/Won - 29
- Congress: 21

Jodhpur division, consisting of 6 districts and 33 seats:
- BJP: Leading/Won - 21
- Congress: 10
(Note: Jodhpur division is known as the bastion of CM Ashok Gehlot.)

Udaipur division, encompassing 6 districts and 28 seats:
- BJP: Leading/Won - 16
- Congress: 10
(Note: This is a tribal-dominating part of southern Rajasthan.)

Ajmer division includes 4 districts and has 29 seats:
- BJP: Leading/Won - 16
- Congress: 10
- Others: 3

Bikaner division, covering 4 districts and having 24 seats:
- BJP: Leading/Won - 10
- Congress: 11
- Others: 3

Bharatpur division with 4 districts and 19 seats:
- BJP: Leading/Won - 5
- Congress: 11
- Others: 3

Kota division comprises 4 districts and has 17 seats:
- BJP: Leading/Won - 11
- Congress: 6
(Note: Kota is known to be the bastion of former CM Vasundhara Raje and Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla.)

Independent fact-finding team detained by police on way to Sandeshkhali

23-year-old Indian killed in drone attack in Ukraine

Why this farm stir demands a different approach on MSP

Five men arrested for hacking to death Dalit youth near Pallikaranai

Renowned filmmaker Kumar Shahani of 'Maya Darpan' and 'Tarang' fame dies at 83