Will BJP Lose to Congress Over Rajasthan’s Anti-Incumbency Trend?
Rajasthan has alternated between the BJP and the Congress governments in all the assembly elections held since 1998. Will the 7 December poll see a break in the 20-year-old trend or will it prove to be the best bet for the Congress ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections?
In 2013 Assembly elections, the BJP had secured a massive mandate by winning 163 out of 200 constituencies. The BJP further consolidated its grip over Rajasthan in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when they bagged all the 25 seats from Rajasthan. Interestingly, while the Congress had lost only 3 percentage points in vote share between 2008 and 2013, the BJP had gained 12 percentage share in votes in the same time.
Anti-incumbency struck the Vasundhara Raje govt after the Congress beat BJP 3-0 in the February bypolls in Alwar, Ajmer and Mandalgarh.
As both the BJP and the Congress put their best foot forward to win Rajasthan, let's weigh the pros and cons for the two dominant political parties in the state.
Why The BJP Has a Tough Battle Ahead
It will be tough for the BJP to explain the agrarian crisis, woo unhappy groups such as the Rajputs and fight anti-incumbency. It doesn’t help that important leaders Manvendra Singh and Harish Meena have left the party to join the rival Congress.
Why Congress Doesn’t Have an Easy Fight Either
The game won’t be easy for the Congress either. With former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Congress' winning bet Sachin Pilot both in the fray, the party is clearly divided into separate camps.
Khiladis For The Throne
The election which is seen as a do-or-die situation for Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje will also decide her fate within the BJP.
Two time-CM Ashok Gehlot is not only an experienced administrator, but also enjoys a loyal vote base and has the ability to swing sections of the OBC vote towards the Congress.
Sachin Pilot, the son of former Dausa strongman Rajesh Pilot, is perhaps the most likely choice for the Congress' CM candidate. It will be interesting to see how things unfold for Pilot, with the BJP contesting its only Muslim candidate against against the Congress leader in the Muslim-dominated seat of Tonk.
The Assembly elections in five states is being seen as a litmus test for the Narendra Modi-led NDA government ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. If we go by the recent opinion poll numbers, Rajasthan seems to be in Congress’ bag.
Stay with The Quint on 11 December to know who finally wins the race to the throne in Jaipur.