Rajasthan CM’s move to create 19 new districts will strengthen Congress’ campaign to end the state’s tradition of alternating between Congress and BJP every five years.

JAIPUR: In what is being seen as the biggest masterstroke ever by him, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has announced the formation of 19 new districts and three more divisional headquarters. Significantly, the announcement has come just eight months ahead of the Assembly polls of the state.
That’s not all. Distribution of mobile phones to 40 lakh women will start from Raksha Bandhan. In another move to outwit BJP on the Hindutva agenda, Gehlot sanctioned Rs 100 crore for beautification of pilgrim places of Rajasthan. The CM tried to woo all sections of the society during the budget session. After the revival of OPS and Chiranjeevi Swasthya Yojana, creation of new districts is a move that the BJP will be hard-pressed to counter. The BJP cannot even dub the decision as a political stunt, because Gehlot has only fulfilled the promises he made.
Earlier, Gehlot was expected to announce new districts in the budget itself. But he made a wise move and extended the term of the committee on new districts. Then, the announcement came during the concluding part of the budget session, which left everyone surprised.
The schemes like OPS, Chiranjeevi Swasthya Yojana, meal for the poor for Rs 8, gas cylinder for Rs 500, regularisation of jobs, etc. have already heightened the chances of the Gehlot government to return to power. But after the decision to create 19 new districts, the government is on a much stronger footing to break the 35-year old tradition of alternating between Congress and BJP every five years in Rajasthan. The desert state will now have 50 districts.
This is for the first time that there is no anti-incumbency against the ruling party, with the BJP leaders joining the ruling side. Leaders like Sachin Pilot, who opened front against Gehlot, are looking clueless. The BJP camp is witnessing infighting as the high command is in no mood to project any CM face.
Even the Modi factor may be ineffective due to an atmosphere favouring Congress in Rajasthan, thanks to Gehlot’s welfare schemes. The OPS and Chiranjeevi Swasthya Yojana are popular in BJP-ruled states too. The pressure is mounting on BJP governments to follow the Rajasthan model. Congress president Mallikarjuna Kharge is also lauding CM Gehlot’s steps. In fact, people were demanding new districts in Rajasthan for the last 15 years. It has been fulfilled now. So, the Congress is now more hopeful of retaining power in Rajasthan. CM Gehlot’s steps from the management of the pandemic to implementing various welfare schemes have given massive strength to the Congress. CM Gehlot single-handedly faced all the challenges posed by his rivals. It may be recalled that the then PCC president, Sachin Pilot, tried to topple his own party government in 2020. CM Gehlot could save his government due to timely action. Pilot was sacked as PCC chief. After overcoming the political challenge from his own party head in Rajasthan, Gehlot moved on, effectively fighting the pandemic and launching various schemes for the welfare of the people.
After the Congress president polls, attempts were renewed by the adversaries to tarnish Gehlot’s image. He successfully defeated all the negative forces. Kharge and Rahul Gandhi backed him. People in Rajasthan are now saying that Gehlot’s magic is yielding results. There is no obstacle visible in Gehlot’s path to return to power.