Podcast | What You Need to Know About the 2018 Rajasthan Elections
Rajasthan goes to polls on 7 December. Who are the candidates, what are the key issues, and what’s the likely outcome of this election?
On today’s edition of the Big Story podcast, we’re analysing the Rajasthan Assembly elections.
6.8 crore people from 200 constituencies will vote today to decide who forms the next Rajasthan state government. Will it be the BJP, led by current CM Vasundhara Raje, or the Congress?
Rajasthan has alternated between BJP and Congress governments since 1998. The BJP swept to power in Rajasthan in 2013, winning a historic 163 of the 200 seats with 46 percent of the vote share.
The BJP’s victory was sealed further when they won all 25 seats from Rajasthan in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. But the ground the BJP gained in 2013-14 is now shrinking under its own feet.
The Congress has won six bypolls since the 2013 elections, most recently defeating the BJP in the Alwar, Ajmer, and Mandalgarh bypolls in February 2018.
What are the Challenges Before the BJP?
Defection is a major worry for the Rajasthan BJP this time around. A particularly worrisome defection is that of former BJP leader Manvendra Singh, who has joined the Congress and will be contesting against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje from Rajasthan’s Jhalrapatan constituency. Aishwarya Iyer caught up with him in Jhalawar.
Increasing incidents of mob violence over Gau Raksha and alleged “love jihad” have alienated the Muslim community in the state. The Muslim vote bank forms a significant chunk in at least 14 constituencies.
Apart from this, the BJP and the RSS have have also clashed with Vasundhara Raje over the appointment of Rajasthan’s state BJP chief.
Raje refused to appoint Rajput leader and Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as the state BJP chief because she didn’t want to alienate the large Jat community in Rajasthan.
So, clearly the BJP has their work cut out for them.
What are the Challenges for the Congress?
Three opinion polls have predicted a likely Congress win in Rajasthan. The ABP News C-Voter opinion poll, The C-fore opinion poll, and the ABP-CSDS survey. But does that mean the Congress won’t face any challenges in this election? Hardly.
The Congress is yet to declare a CM candidate. With both Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot in the fray, voters are likely to be split between the two leaders.
Adding to it is the selection of Yunus Khan, the BJP’s only Muslim candidate in the 2018 Rajasthan elections, to contest against Sachin Pilot for the Tonk seat.
As all 200 constituencies vote today, it’s anyone’s guess who the winner will be. Will the BJP break the trend and return to power for a second term? Or will the Congress return to power in Rajasthan?