Rajasthan: Confident Congress, cautiously optimistic BJP

Jaipur: The presence of upwards of three lakh persons at the rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Amroodon Ka Bagh here on last Saturday, gladdened the hearts of the BJP men in Rajasthan to no end. The huge turnout at the event has aroused the hopes of the party that it may, after all, do well in the 2019 general elections, despite the anti-incumbency factor working against it.

The Congress, on the other hand, is confident that it would not only form the next government in the state but would win a majority of Lok Sabha seats as well. Assembly elections are due in the state in November-December this year.

Record victory

Rajasthan PCC chief Sachin Pilot and other party leaders celebrate their victory in by-elections in February this year (File photo)

In the last Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had annexed all the 25 Parliamentary seats in the state. This time, the party feels that it may win between 18-20 seats, if it emerges victorious in the assembly elections. If not, the tally may fall to 8-10. Thanks to the Modi wave, the BJP had won a record 163 of the 200 assembly seats in the state in 2013. All the ten Rajya Sabha seats from the state also went the BJP way.

Dalit factor

In 2014 general elections, the BJP had won the four SC seats (Ganganagar, Bikaner, Bharatpur and Karoli-Dhaulpur) and the three ST seats (Banswada, Dausa and Udaipur) in the state with huge margins. However, the incidents that followed the apex court decision on SC, ST Atrocities Act, especially the violence on the day of the Bharat Bandh, have led to the Dalits turning against the party. Winning them back would be a big challenge for the BJP.

The state Congress is led by a young Sachin Pilot. However, his running battle with the former chief minister Ashok Gehlot may prove the party’s undoing. The BJP has appointed Rajya Sabha member Mandanlal Saini as its state chief to draw the Mali voters, who were tilting towards the Congress due to Ashok Gehlot.