Rajasthan assembly polls: The not so easy battle and why BJP could struggle
Jaipur, Oct 15: For the BJP the election in Rajasthan would be the mother of all battles. It is sure going to be the toughest and strongest contest for the BJP in this state, where it is in power.
There was a big question mark over the prospects of the Congress due to the alleged infighting between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. The Congress however managed to put up a united front by bringing the two leaders together. However the party is bitten by the ticket bug.
At a rally in Jaipur in August, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had said no outsider would get a ticket to the assembly election. "I can guarantee you this time that not a single parachute candidate will be able to get the ticket. If any such candidate comes, I will cut the rope," Gandhi told party workers.
While it would be interesting to see how the Gehlot-Pilot equation shapes as the polling dates closer, the BJP too cannot take it easy in the state.
Leading psephologist and political scientist, Dr. Sandeep Shastri tells OneIndia that for the BJP, there is no taking it easy in Rajasthan. It is the toughest fight and the strongest contest, he says.
For some years now, Rajasthan has had a revolving door policy. Every recent election in the last four rounds has seen an alternate party coming to power. The Congress according to me would hope that this trend continues this year as well.
If one looks at the other four states going to polls (Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh), the strongest chance for the Congress is in Rajasthan. The second factor that may work for the Congress is that there has never been a BJP state leadership that has been so unpopular. Vasundhara Raje is unpopular within the party as well, Dr. Shastri says and this is not seen in the other units of the party.
This factor would be a huge setback for the party in Rajasthan. In the run up to the elections, they would have to iron out their differences. The party has been trying to project a united face. Raje on the other hand has been going all out to change her image, but one would wonder it is too little too late.
However one must not forget that the Congress has this wonderful knack of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The rivalry between Gehlot and Pilot is something we cannot ignore. Gehlot has said that he cannot be ignored, but the leadership feels he should not interfere in Rajasthan and instead focus on national politics. Rahul Gandhi has more than once indicated that Pilot is the man in the state. He has not been declared the CM candidate, but continues to be the party's top choice in the state.
Coming to the BJP, I would believe that Prime Minister Narendra will invest most of his time in Rajasthan. He would give emphasis to this state over the rest as the BJP really does have a concern here. If at all the BJP is able to turn the tables in Rajasthan, then it would only be because of the Modi factor. A lot would depend on how much support the PM can garner in this state.
As of today, in Rajasthan, the odds appear to be favouring the Congress, Dr Shastri also says.
Rajasthan votes on December 7 and counting will be held on December 11. There are 200 assembly seats and the magic number is 101.