Why is Rajasthan turning out to be a prestige issue for both, Congress and BJP?

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The state of Rajasthan is going to conduct its 14th assembly election in December this year. With two months to go for the election, the ruling party and the opposition both have charted their strategies to win the election. While the ruling party is banking on the achievements of their government, the Congress is relying on the anti-incumbent votes. Currently, the state is ruled by Vasundhara Raje led BJP government.

The atmosphere has already changed and both the parties are rigorously trying to woo the voters. The chief minister of the state, Vasundhara Raje has taken out multiple Gaurav Yatra and has also recently conducted felicitation events for the government employees, such as teachers, constables, and sanitation workers. The CM is also trying to validate the work done by her through the confirmation of local sarpanch or collector in front of the people.

The opposition, however, is accusing the government of not having been achieved the goals it could have as there is a growing unhappiness amongst the people towards the current government in the state. Sachin Pilot, the Congress state chief has also said that the government is wasting people’s money on these yatras and rallies.

The political fight recently turned dirty when during one of CM’s Gaurav Yatra stones were hurled by the opposition party supporters. The BJP since then has accused the opposition party of being frustrated. Both the parties have also frequently attacked each other personally.

The state has been mostly ruled by the Indian National Congress since its first assembly election held in 1952 and has had a total of 9 terms in the state. Initially, a 160 member constituency in its inauguration year, 1952, the number of constituencies gradually kept on increasing in the consecutive assembly elections. After the Ajmer State merged with Rajasthan, in 1956, the no. grew to 190 and in the sixth assembly in the year 1977, the number finally came to 200.

In the election of 1977, in the wake of emergency, the parties decided to come forward and fight against INC resulting in Janta party winning the election and ruled for a brief stint of 3 years. BJP had started contesting election since the year 1980. Before that a right-wing party Bhartiya Jan Sangh (BJS), popularly known as Jan Sangh which was a political arm of RSS, had contested the election in the state. It merged into Janta party which was formed with the left, right and center parties who were against INC rule. After the Janta party split in 1980, it went on to rebuild itself as Bhartiya Janta Party and is currently the largest party representing members in Lok Sabha as well a Vidhan Sabha.

In 1980 congress came back to power and ruled for another decade.  In 1990 which was the 9th assembly BJP in coalition with Janta Dal formed the government. It was also elected to form the government for a second term in 1993. Since then the state has been alternately ruled by Congress and BJP alone with no representation of a third front in the assembly. In 2008, the Congress won the election by winning the majority of 96 seats. In 2013 state elections, Modi backed BJP won a whopping 163 seats while Congress settled at 21 seats, the lowest on the record.

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