Rajasthan polls: BJP cruising towards a decisive victory

The BJP party office in Jaipur started their celebrations early as trends since morning showed a clear mandate for the BJP.
Vasundhara Raje
Vasundhara RajeFacebook
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The Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to romp home with a decisive victory in Rajasthan, putting paid to the efforts of the Congress party to secure power for a consecutive term. At 5.30 pm, the Election Commission of India announced the BJP winning in 76 seats and leading in 39 seats, out of 199 Assembly seats. The Congress under Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, had a disappointing run with wins in 43 seats and leads in 26 seats. In 2018, the Congress party won 100 seats, while the BJP had won 73 seats.

The BJP party office in Jaipur started their celebrations early as trends since morning showed a clear mandate for the BJP. The results reinforce the trend of anti-incumbency in Rajasthan, where BJP and Congress have been winning alternatingly since 1993.

Speaking to the media, Gehlot said, "I am a Jansevak, I will serve the state even without any post," says Outgoing Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The Congress has been unsuccessful in beating the anti-incumbency factor that has reflected the election results in Rajasthan since 1993 when BJP leader Bhairon Singh Shekhawat became the Chief Minister. Since then, it has been Ashok Gehlot for Congress and Vasundhara Raje for BJP who have been alternating as CMs.

However, there is no clear consensus on a Chief Minister candidate this time around, as the BJP campaign this time, was led by Vasundhara Raje, but the BJP has not explicitly announced her name as the CM candidate. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is said to be one of the top contenders for the CM’s post along with Raje.

The BJP also did not have a major poll issue as the Gehlot government has not been involved in any major scams or scandals. However, the BJP took advantage of the fact that there have been at least twelve instances of paper leaks in the five years of Congress rule. Charging the  Congress party with corruption, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his election speech at Kota said that Congress had sold papers for all the exams and the BJP would send everyone involved in paper leaks to prison if they came to power.

The Congress on the other hand accused the BJP of using central agencies, especially the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of misusing their powers. The ED in October 2023 raided Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra’s premises and also summoned Gehlot’s son in a foreign exchange violation case. Congress leader and MLA Sachin Pilot questioned the timing of the raids and the investigations and alleged that the BJP, worried about its decreasing popularity was resorting to such measures.

The BJP also questioned the Gehlot government about the safety of women and children in Rajasthan turning it into a poll issue. A bevy of leaders from PM Modi to Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani and Rajyavardhan Rathore all lambasted the Congress for increasing crimes against women and alleged a total breakdown of law and order.

BJP’s manifesto promised a Rs 450 subsidy on LPG cylinders for Ujjawala beneficiaries, a bonus of Rs 2,700 per quintal on MSP for wheat, savings bond of Rs 2 lakh for girl child, a women police station in every district, and a women’s desk in every police station, anti-Romeo squads in each city.

Following the trend of guarantees, Congress had also announced seven guarantees. This consisted of Rs 10,000 annual allowance to the woman head of the family, enacting a law for the old pension scheme, expanding cylinder scheme subsidy to more than one crore families, purchasing cow-dung at Rs 2 per kg, Rs 15 lakh insurance per household for damages due to natural disasters, free laptops for the fresh college students, and English medium school education for all the students.

The state recorded a voter turnout of 75.45%, which was marginally higher than elections in 2018, in which the state registered a turnout of 74.71%. More women voted than men in the state assembly polls, registering 74.72%, while 74.53% of men voted in the polls.

In 2018, the Congress party won 100 seats out of 200 Assembly seats. The ruling party BJP facing anti-incumbency won 73 seats. The BSP won six seats, while the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLTP) won three seats and the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) won two seats. The CPI(M) also won two seats. Thirteen independent candidates won their seats, defeating national and state parties.

The Congress with 100 seats had a vote share of 39.30% and the BJP with only 73 seats came close in the vote share with 38.77%. The BSP got 4.03%, while RLTP had a 2.40% vote share. The CPI(M) has 1.22%, while BTP got 0.72% vote share. The vote share of the independent candidates was 9.47%.

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