Highlights

  • Since 1993, BJP and Congress have alternately formed government in Rajasthan
  • Vasundhara Raje and Ashok Gehlot have taken turns as chief ministers since 1998

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BJP Vs Congress: will Ashok Gehlot turn tide or Rajasthan remain a swinging state?

Will the trend of 'revolving door' that has dominated Rajasthan's governance, since 1993, would prevail again and see BJP returning to power in 2023 or will Congress finally break the jinx?

BJP Vs Congress: will Ashok Gehlot turn tide or Rajasthan remain a swinging state?

Rajasthan, since 1993, has seen the incumbent government failing to hold on to power for a second term. The political musical chair has seen BJP’s Vasundhara Raje and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot take turns as chief ministers since 1998.

Electoral tradition dictates that it would likely be the BJP which will win the polls, but both parties are in the throes of factional feuds making this contest keenly watched. The key factors, therefore, are.

- Is it the BJP's turn?

Congress leader Sachin Pilot acknowledged that overcoming the 3-decade-' old ‘revolving door’ trend will be his party's biggest challenge in the elections. And rightly so, out of the state's 200 seats, as per The Quint, 123 are swing constituencies, meaning seats where the voter trends show no loyalties; these account for 61.5%.

Apart from the Congress and BJP, there are independents and smaller political parties which have a part to play. While 63 seats out of those 123 sway between BJP and Congress, in the other 58, independents and other parties have registered victories in the last 30 years.

- BJP have an edge with ‘double engine ki sarkar’?

While the ‘double engine’ narrative failed in Karnataka, BJP continued to tell the Rajasthan voters about the benefits of the same party rule at the Centre and in the state, promising more development.

By being a BJP-ruled state, collaborations with the Centre would, as per the party, result in more effective governance in Rajasthan where Ashok Gehlot's government has often lamented about not getting the due support from the Centre in the past 5 years.

- Welfare schemes

For chief minister Gehlot, his series of welfare schemes could help him counter the expected anti-incumbency. Through his inflation-relief camps where the eligible beneficiaries can register for the schemes, his government has tried to communicate that these initiatives would counter the situation created by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

-Who will be the next CM?

For Congress, it would be a leadership tussle between Pilot and Gehlot. BJP on the other hand, like in other states is trying to capitalise on Prime Minister Modi's name with no out-and-out CM face in sight. The visible sidelining of the last BJP CM Raje is a noticeable factor for the saffron party to counter. In local and national media coverage, the names of Raje, Satish Poonia and CP Joshi as the contestants for the CM post have been doing rounds.

-Corruption, law & order

BJP has been targeting the Congress government over law and order and has promised to ‘expose’ the infamous ‘red diary’ which allegedly carries details of the Gehlot government's financial irregularities.

Congress' Pilot too, earlier this year, had accused the government run by his political nemesis of ‘failing’ to act on corruption that the BJP dispensation had been accused of.

-Strongholds

While the swing constituencies are expected to throw interesting results, the BJP has a clear sway over the remaining seats which could be crucial in determining the winner.

The percentage, as per The Quint, might be small but it is in BJP's favour. 33 out of the 200 seats are strongholds, and BJP dominates on 28 seats. Since 2008, Congress has had a hat-trick in only 5 constituencies.


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