Rajasthan result a vote against Raje | india | Hindustan Times
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Rajasthan result a vote against Raje

The Congress won 96 seats in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly and is set to form the next government in the state with the help of likeminded parties and victorious party rebels, report Srinand Jha & KS Tomar. See graphics

india Updated: Dec 09, 2008 01:20 IST
Srinand Jha & KS Tomar

The Congress won 96 seats in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly and is set to form the next government in the state with the help of likeminded parties and victorious party rebels.

The outcome is seen as a vote against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s “personalized style of functioning”. Her inability to rein in party rebels, her insistence on giving tickets to wrong candidates and her own high and mighty attitude are among the factors that did the BJP in.

For once, pollsters got their predictions right. Most forecasts had predicted this scenario: a neck-and-neck contest between the BJP and Congress, with a slight advantage to the latter. The final tally (Congress 96, BJP 78 and Others 26) is, therefore, along predicted lines.

Indications are Ashok Gehlot will get another shot at chief ministership. Speaking to reporters, Gehlot said it would not be a problem for the party to cross the magic figure of 100. One succesful Independent candidate has already committed support, while five others have also promised to come on board.

Raje has conceded defeat and tendered her resignation to Governor S.K. Singh. Speaking to reporters, state BJP chief Om Mathur said: “We accept the people’s verdict. The party will conduct an in-depth analysis to assess the factors responsible for the defeat.”

Party sources said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh did not support the BJP’s campaign, as leaders of the organization were reportedly unhappy with Raje’s style of functioning.

Both the Congress and BJP suffered because of poor candidate selection. The Congress lost heavily in the eastern Rajasthan districts of Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur and Dausa — conceding an advantage to the BJP and the BSP — on this count. But in contrast to the 2003 elections, the Congress fared better in western and southern Rajasthan (also called the Mewar and Marwar regions), which has a concentration of tribals.

The terror attacks in Mumbai also did not have a substantial impact on the results, except in some urban pockets in Jaipur and Ajmer.

The results point to an important political trend. It proves the Jat community did not function as a consolidated vote bank — as against the tendency in previous elections. Jat votes were split between the Congress and the BJP, as the defeat of senior Jat leader Harendra Mirdha demonstrates.

Others leaders from the community — including Col Sona Ram, Mahipal Maderna and Hema Ram Chaudhary won — but none of them can claim to have a pan-Rajasthan acceptability. Therefore, the long-standing demand of the community for a Jat candidate as CM is likely to be go unaddressed this time as well.

Many a big gun was felled. Congress leaders who lost include state party chief C.P. Joshi and senior leaders like Narain Singh, Bulaki Das Kalla, Chandrashekhar Baid and Vishwavendra Singh. From the BJP, those defeated include Speaker Sumitra Singh and Cabinet ministers Kanak Mal Katara, Sanwar Lal Jat and Yunus Khan.