JAIPUR: Both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have expressed confidence of securing a victory in the December 7 Assembly polls in Rajasthan, the results of which, will be declared on Tuesday.
Exit polls have sharply intensified political activity in Rajasthan. While they predict a comfortable victory for the Congress, the BJP is not ready to give up. Incumbent Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Sunday claimed she was confident of forming the next government. “The BJP is going to make the new government and we are going to do it in a huge way. I am very very confident,” Raje had said in a brief interaction with the media in Jaipur.
Raje is also said to have held several meetings in Jaipur over this past weekend to review the scenario. Sources within the party’s state unit said the party has now started preparing for a ‘Hung Assembly’ scenario. Election in-charge for the state, Prakash Javadekar, general secretary organisation Chandrashekhar and the convener of the election management committee Gajendra Singh Shekhawat have started strategising the way ahead to cobble up numbers in case of as fractured mandate, said one of the functionaries.
With a few ‘rebel (Those who are contesting against their own parties for not being given a ticket)’ candidates likely to win, the BJP has reportedly begun overtures to these leaders. “The Raje Camp has sent its loyalists to all 33 districts of the state and with their trusted groups, they will keep a keen eye on BJP rebels and Independents who seem likely to win. If no party gets a clear majority, the idea is not to let the Congress poach such MLAs. The BJP will have helicopters ready for transporting these MLAs and even hotel bookings for their stay,” revealed another senior BJP leader who did not want to be named.
Several functionaries within the Congress’ state unit however, said they are already discussing the process of government formation and who will be the next chief minister.The debate over the CM candidate — State PCC chief Sachin Pilot or former chief minister Ashok Gehlot — has also picked up steam.
While both Gehlot and Pilot have stayed away from commenting on the debate, Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, the Congress candidate from the Civil Lines seat in Jaipur has fired the first major salvo in this debate. “Why should Ashok Gehlot be allowed to decide on who will be CM in Rajasthan? It is the elected MLAs and Rahul gandhi who should settle this issue,” he asserted in a clear signal that Pilot loyalists are keen to get him the CM’s chair. Both Gehlot and Pilot have been camping in Delhi and have met with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Rahul.