Highlights

  • Congress faces defeat as BJP wins Rajasthan battle
  • Women safety was BJP’s core election plank
  • Congress & BJP have won alternate terms since 1993

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The Congress’ attempt to break the decades old revolving door tradition in Rajasthan has fallen flat with the BJP securing a thumping victory in a state where the saffron party had mounted attack over women safety.

Rajasthan elections: Gehlot fails to break revolving door; what worked for BJP | Explained

The mandate of Rajasthan is clear. Defying the exit poll predictions of a close contest, BJP posted a landslide victory over the ruling Congress, The state retained the tradition of changing governments every five years as the outgoing Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot failed to break the revolving door.
As the BJP won despite not declaring CM face, it is clear that PM Narendra Modi's guarantees prevailed over that of Congress'.

What were the key factors that led to the Congress' debacle?

Gehlot-Pilot feud:

One of the main reasons for Congress' defeat is the infighting between two factions. Gehlot Vs Pilot. The Congress government hadn't even completed two years in the state and Sachin Pilot with over a dozen MLAs were camping in a resort in BJP-ruled Haryana. The government was on the brink of collapse. But the 'jaadugar' countered the move by securing the support of a vast majority of legislators, taking them to a resort in Jaipur. The government survived but the wound festered.

Paper leaks:

A major cause for concern for the Gehlot-led government was the numerous exam paper leaks. Between 2019 and 2022, at least eight government recruitment exams were cancelled due to paper leaks. The enraged the youth who were already distressed with unemployment woes. Given the magnitude of the defeat, it appears that the Congress lost the confidence of the young voters.

Women safety:

The BJP's campaign in the state was centred around women safety. The party portrayed the state as the worst in crime against women. PM Modi in all his rallies slammed the government over law and order. Despite Gehlot's rebuttal calling the BJP's allegations as outright lies, the charges appeared to have stuck.

Polarisation:

Even before the exit poll results were declared, CM Gehlot conceded that if BJP's tactics of polarisation worked, his party may lose the battle. Gehlot may have been right. BJP aggressively pushed its polarisation agenda, raking up the murder of Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal. The party also slammed the state government for allowing Popular Front of India or PFI to hold rally in the state.

'Rewadi' race:

In the run up to the elections, the two major parties left no stone unturned in wooing the voters through the so-called 'rewadis' or freebies. Both parties made announced monetary assistance to women, subsiding gas cylinders and massive health cover packages. It was Modi's guarantees versus Congress' guarantees. The result shows it was Modi the people put their faith in.

Caste census:

Congress was betting big on the caste census plank. At every rally, Rahul Gandhi highlighted the under-representation of the backward classes in the policymaking. His famous 'only 3 OBCs out of 90 officers that run the country' appears to have failed to make a mark. Are there no takers for caste census in the state?

Road ahead for Congress:

Now that there is no CM post up for grabs, what will become of the Gehlot-Pilot rivalry? Who will lead the Opposition in the state given that the Lok Sabha elections are just around the corner. Will the party get their house in order? Numerous questions like these surround the party. How they respond to the loss would decide their fate in 2024. As it appears at this point, it 2024 could be a repeat of 2019 when the NDA bagged all 25 seats in the Hindi state and Congress got zero.


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