Both the BJP and Congress are banking on each other’s weaknesses.
The Rajasthan Assembly elections are going to be very interesting for the first time. On one hand, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is leading the Congress all alone, while on the other hand, from the BJP’s side, the entire party including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party president J.P. Nadda, is in the fray.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has raised questions on the frequent visits of Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, sending out a message that he too is trying to create an atmosphere in favour of BJP by praising the decisions of the Centre. Undoubtedly, there is no anti-incumbency against the Gehlot government as of now. The government’s schemes are popular in rural areas. Still, there is a keen contest between the ruling party and the opposition. It means that whoever puts more energy into the campaign and contests the elections in a more planned manner will be closer to victory.
Needless to say, both the Congress and the BJP are grappling with internal problems. In Congress, Gehlot is not getting the support of the party and the leaders the way he should have. No one seems to have followed even a single instruction of Rahul Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi ‘s clear orders were that the ministers and leaders should campaign and take out marches on the streets highlighting the achievements of the Gehlot government. But nothing like this happened. State in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa also could not control the leaders and workers in a firm manner. In a way, they remained more dependent on Delhi. Meanwhile, Sachin Pilot and his supporters have noticeably calmed down due to Delhi’s intervention. But they have kept themselves in a limited role. The weaknesses of the high command have also been exposed. Firstly, no action was taken on time against those who harmed the party. Secondly, the work that should have been done regarding the organization was not done. The appointment of office bearers was delayed. The most important thing is the weak booth management of the Congress party. There are 52 thousand booths in which only around 30 thousand appointments have been made.
Unlike Congress, the BJP is far ahead in the matter of booth management. BJP’s top leadership also works closely on election management. On the contrary, Congress remains indifferent to some extent. As a result, the public welfare schemes including the OPS scheme brought by Chief Minister Gehlot for government employees are not being promoted by the leaders personally as much as they should be. Apart from this, there is so much resentment among the common people against most of the ministers and MLAs. Only a handful of ministers and MLAs are going among the common people. Chief Minister Gehlot is working alone day and night to ensure a repeat of the government.
Secondly, a PR company, DesignBoxed, is holding the front on behalf of the Congress. Two things are going in favor of Congress. One is the clean image of Chief Minister Gehlot and second is his public welfare schemes, on the basis of which Congress is hopeful of repeating the government. If the high command drops a large number of ministers and MLAs, then the chances of BJP’s comeback will be slimmer. BJP’s biggest hope is from the anger among the common people against the Congress MLAs and ministers.
At the same time, the situation in the BJP is also not very good. The high command has to make every effort to woo former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. However, it is clear that this time, Chief Minister Gehlot will have a direct contest with Prime Minister Modi, because the party will contest the elections on PM’s face. Raje will not be its face. But the party will give tickets to her supporters. Congress is likely to benefit from a situation where Raje is sidelined by the BJP. BJP strategists feel that Sachin Pilot’s supporters can compensate for some of the loss caused by not making Raje the face. This means that both the parties are banking on weaknesses of each other. But the BJP is more concerned than the Congress. The schemes of the Gehlot government are quite popular among government employees and the rural population. With this in view, BJP is going to do many experiments which include fighting polls on Prime Minister Modi’s face. Firstly, sitting BJP MLAs will be dropped during ticket distribution. Secondly, the BJP can give tickets to women on 33% seats i.e. 66 seats out of 200. Third, half a dozen MPs can be seen contesting the elections along with all the Union Ministers of the state. With the keen contest expected, no prediction could be made for Rajasthan Assembly poll outcome as of now.