Rajasthan Assembly Elections : With anti-incumbency wave, is BJP losing its grip?

It looks like that Vasundhara Raje led BJP government in Rajasthan is unlikely to make a comeback for the second consecutive term. It is observed that growing mistrust in the government and its unfulfilled promises are to be blamed. The people are unhappy with the adverse impact of the BJP-led union government’s demonetization of high-currency notes and also the introduction of Goods and Services Tax. BJP’s online money transfer schemes have also not been too fruitful for the people because many are illiterate, while some complaint about the slow speed of internet servers and alleged corruption in lower ranks of the bureaucracy.

There have been several protests against her in the public gatherings. Black flags were raised during her Gaurav Yatra, which is aimed at showcasing government’s achievement to the people. People seeking party tickets were also found fighting at some venues. Allegedly these Yatras are organized and funded by seekers of party ticket. Asia times quoted a veteran political analyst in Rajasthan as saying, “This is a yatra [tour] of the BJP ticket seekers, by the ticket seekers and for the ticket seekers”.

In the recent bypolls, the Congress party won 6 out of 8 seats. The credit goes to the months of work done by the Congress. The Congress has relentlessly worked to rebuild its party foothold in Rajasthan under the leadership of Sachin Pilot since the last poll where the party was wiped out of all the 25 seats in the Lok Sabha. The Congress campaign has mainly targeted on one to one connection with the masses. Senior leaders of the Congress Party have also worked on the ground level after the party’s embarrassing defeat. The Congress also reinforces the fact that the BJP represents the rich while the Congress the poor.

While the BJP in the state has a strategy of blasting people with their achievements, the Congress indulges with the people. Raje’s meetings are mostly aimed at self-appraisal as the government’s achievements are shown to people gathered by bringing men, women and children in the truck from nearby areas while the event ends with a testimonial by a beneficiary of a government scheme.

The Congress President Rahul Gandhi is also taking the campaign for elections head on and has been visiting the poll-bound states to gain people’s confidence. On a recent visit to Sagwara district, Rajasthan, he addressed a public gathering and took part in a well-attended road show. He fiercely attacked the opposition and assured people that they want to work for the welfare of people. He also visited a temple, which many term as playing, ‘soft hindutva’ strategy.

Going by the historical trend of alternating government in the state, one can also predict that this time the people of Rajasthan might give the power to the Congress Party. In the 2013 assembly elections, the BJP won 163 of the 200 assembly seats in Rajasthan and made a record of winning all the 25 seats in Lok Sabha polls. However, getting that number this time can be an uphill task for the BJP.

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