NEW DELHI: Candidates of smaller parties and Independents, including several rebels who contested after being denied tickets by their parties, winning 18 seats in the Rajasthan elections seem to have dampened prospects for both the Congress and the BJP.
Smaller parties like the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party floated by Independent MLA Hanuman Beniwal won three seats. Bhartiya Tribal Party formed by Gujarat MLA Chhotubhai Vasava in 2017 won two seats.
Independents won 13 seats. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which did not even open its account in the 2013 elections, won two seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party, which was looking or an alliance with the Congress, won six seats; it had three MLAs in 2013. The Rashtriya Lok Dal won a single seat.
In 2013, smaller parties like the National People’s Party and the National Unionist Zamindara Party won six seats together while Independents took seven. People voted for candidates and parties that raised their issues compared to national parties.
The Rajasthan elections were expected to be a clean sweep for the Congress keeping in mind the state’s trend of electing an alternate government every five years and the Vasundhara Raje government’s fading popularity but the saffron party put up a tough fight.
“Smaller parties and Independents restricted the Congress from getting a majority. People voting for these parties show that regional issues matter to people and they vote so that their representatives rake up these issues,” said a senior leader.