The Congress in Rajasthan may be planning to cut down the tickets of several sitting MLAs. The party believes that bringing back the legislators who are facing anti-incumbency in their respective constituencies can become a cause of defeat and prevent the party from repeating the government.
Sources suggest that the high command has approved changing the faces on more than 30 seats (including former candidates) till now where the survey reports indicate outright defeat of the party. Such seats also include two cabinet ministers, two ministers of state, and around 20 sitting MLAs. Moreover, there is a popular perception within the close circles of Gehlot that he would want to cut down the non-performing chunk of legislators, which would propel his position on electoral ground. The idea is to find better alternatives to compete with the BJP and repeat the government.
A person aware of the matter said, “Rahul Gandhi will only take the cognisance of survey done by Sunil Kanugolu and, therefore, the ticket distribution is most likely to happen on reports made out by his team and not the one that reports to Gehlot or is hired by him. Kanugolu’s survey is more substantial. They divide a team between four men and four women. And there are around 8,000 sample size in every constituency. In Rajasthan, there are around 210 booth constituencies on an average.”
Experts are of the view that if the Congress is able to cut the tickets of all the anti-incumbency driven sitting MLAs, it could be on top of its game as the electorate is confused about the other side (BJP). The people do not know which face they will be voting for, when it comes to the BJP.
A political analyst tracking national politics said, “If they want to win the elections, there is a good probability that the Congress will cut the seats of around 50 candidates. That would be their first difficult battle. And being able to cut the tickets of more than 50 candidates will create for them a winning trajectory. Moreover, there would be less discord between Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot if the seats are distributed according to credible surveys which will direct them towards winning candidates and not towards the one who is someone’s loyalist.”
A survey conducted independently by an organisation, an insider said, had revealed that there were 38 MLAs who had scored very low in public feedback conducted by the organisation where more than 55% of people in their constituencies had said that they would not like to vote back the incumbent Congress MLAs. The insider added, “Most of them also said that Ashok Gehlot had done his job and if the candidates are replaced, they may vote for the party again.”
The chairman of the Congress’ screening committee for Rajasthan, Gaurav Gogoi, and AICC (All India Congress Committee) general secretary K.C. Venugopal have been frequently visiting the state. According to party insiders, the current focus of the leadership is to keep the rivalry between Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot down so that the party can put its concerted efforts on choosing candidates.