Rajasthan election results: Five reasons Congress won Rajasthan, 5 reasons BJP lagged

A party bogged down by anti-incumbency, another re-discovering how to win.

 |  3-minute read |   11-12-2018
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5 reasons Congress won

1. Anti-incumbency: Rajasthan has a tradition of voting out the party in power, and this time, anti-incumbency against CM Raje was high. Unemployment and farmers’ distress made sure several sections of society were angry with the government.

2. Presence of strong leaders: Rajasthan is among the few states where Congress still has a prominent, popular state-level leadership. Ashok Gehlot has been chief minister before, while Sachin Pilot, along with the legacy of being Rajesh and Rama Pilot’s son, has been an MP and a Union minister.

3. Party strengthened at ground level: Pilot, since taking over as state Congress chief, had been working quietly to build up the party organisation from ground up. Proof of his hard work and preview to the Assembly election positive show was the result of the January by-polls, which Congress swept.

Rajasthan is among the few states where Congress still has strong regional leadership, who rose well to the occasion. Rajasthan is among the few states where Congress still has strong regional leadership, who rose to the occasion. (Photo: PTI/file)

4. Caste calculations: The Congress managed to tap into Rajput anger against the BJP. At the same time, it tried hard not to anatagonise any other caste group. For example, it did not declare Pilot, a Gujjar, as its CM face, to avoid upsetting the rival caste of Jats.

5. Infighting kept in check: Gehlot and Pilot are both tall leaders, and there is not much love lost between them. But for these polls, the two managed to keep a lid on their infighting, and a few stray comments aside — more from Gehlot’s side — put up a united front. In Rahul Gandhi’s rallies, the three leaders — Congress president, Congress state president, and the former Congress CM — would often be seen together.

5 reasons BJP lost

1. Farmer suicides, unemployment: Rajasthan witnessed an unprecedented rise in farmer suicides and farmers’ protests in the past few years. While the government offered loan waivers, strict conditions were put in place to avail these. Also, Raje’s treasury reportedly had no money to actually meet the promise. The high rate of unemployment was another pressing issue.

The Raje government promised farmers loan waivers, but had no money to meet the promise. The Raje government promised farmers loan waivers, but reportedly had no money to meet the promise. (Photo: PTI/file)

2. Vasundhara Raje’s unpopularity: Adding massively to the anti-incumbency was CM Raje’s own unpopularity. Many, including BJP workers, found her arrogant and unapproachable. Apparently only a small chosen coterie had her ear. Added to that were charges of corruption. A measure of the discontent against her was a much-chanted slogan: ‘Modi tujhse bair nahin, Rani teri khair nahin’.  

3. Many left out of subsidy umbrella: Another major reason for anger against the Raje government was that many people were removed from subsidy schemes, in a drive launched apparently to weed out fake beneficiaries. Estimates say that while millions found their names struck off lists of recipients of pensions, ration, medicines, etc., millions of others are unable to avail the subsidies because the Point of Sale (PoS) machines were failing to read their fingerprints.

Raje was found to be 'arrogant' and inaccessible by many. Goodbye, Maharani Sa? Raje was found to be 'arrogant' by many. (Photo: India Today)

4. Caste, quota troubles: Rajputs, a loyal BJP votebank, were irked with Raje for the Padmaavat fracas, gangster Anandpal Singh’s encounter, and over Rajput leader Gajendra Shekhawat not being selected as the state BJP chief. The Gujjars, also traditionally BJP voters, were not given their promised 5% quota in education and jobs as the courts struck this down.

5. Raje’s relationship with RSS: Raje’s relationship with the Sangh Parivar, and even with the BJP top brass, has been none too cosy. While this affected party cadre morale, the RSS reportedly swung into action too late to use its formidable ground-level network for Raje.

Also read: Rajasthan election results: Will caste equations, fight for quotas affect the poll outcome

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