Congress bounceback in Rajasthan 6 months after debacle

The saffron party has lost its base in eastern Rajasthan and in the Jat-dominated Shekhawati belt.
Congress bounceback in Rajasthan 6 months after debacle

JAIPUR: The Congress has staged a remarkable resurgence in Rajasthan, just six months after losing power in the state. The grand old party which lost all 25 seats in the last two Lok Sabha elections has won 11 seats with its allies this time which implies a serious embarrassment for the ruling BJP getting 14 seats this time.

Among the BJP’s major losers is union minister Kailash Choudhary from Barmer. In fact, the results of the hot seats of Rajasthan have rung alarm bells for the ruling BJP. The saffron party has lost its base in eastern Rajasthan and in the Jat-dominated Shekhawati belt. Kailash Choudhary, one of the four union ministers who tried his luck, had to face a crushing defeat.

He relied on the Modi wave for victory and his overconfidence and loss of ground connect in the last five years is being seen as the main reason for his defeat. The rise of independent Ravindra Singh Bhati has caused a lot of damage to the BJP in west Rajasthan. Failure to convince Bhati and not being able to take local leaders into confidence also caused a big political loss for the Union Minister.

Though Congress has made a comeback, the loss of his son Vaibhav Gehlot from Jalore Sirohi seat is a major setback for former CM Ashok Gehlot and his political future. Meanwhile, many supporters of Gehlot’s arch rival Sachin Pilot have been able to win from various constituencies. The major ones are Murarilal Meena in Dausa, Harish Choudhary in Tonk Sawai Madhopur to Brijendra Ola from the Jhunjhunu seat.

Two veterans in the Modi cabinet, Arjun Ram Meghwal and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, won the elections but could not achieve a big margin. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla defeated Prahlad Gunjal, who had joined Congress from BJP, on the famous seat of Kota, but the contest on this seat was a close one.

Other important winners for the BJP are Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav, who won from the Alwar seat and will now make his Lok Sabha debut. Internal friction in the state unit was another reason for the BJP losing several seats. This led to poor choice of candidates in some seats like in Churu where the BJP dumped its sitting MP Rahul Kaswan from the Jat community. Kaswan then shifted to the Congress and scored a major victory today.

‘A major setback’

Though Congress has made a comeback, the loss of his son Vaibhav Gehlot from Jalore Sirohi seat is a major setback for former CM Ashok Gehlot and his political future. Meanwhile, many supporters of Gehlot’s arch rival Sachin Pilot have been able to win from various constituencies.

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