When the Congress party sits down to introspect what led to its crushing defeat in Rajasthan assembly elections, it can ill afford to ignore the fact that the BJP won in 16 of the 20 seats where Narendra Modi addressed pre-poll meetings.
And the more worrying fact is that Congress vice-president and its possible PM candidate Rahul Gandhi failed to make a mark in any of the seven places where he campaigned for Ashok Gehlot.
After Modi was named the saffron party’s PM candidate, Congress has found itself under a lot of pressure to name its candidate for the top post. In the absence of a specific name, Rahul is being viewed as the default PM face of the party.
The BJP was victorious in seven of the eight constituencies where Rahul addressed public meetings. Rahul had also addressed a public meeting at Churu, where the election was postponed till December 13 after the death of the BSP candidate.
The saffron party won 16 of the 20 seats, where Modi addressed public meetings. Congress was successful in only two of these constituencies.
In fact, Modi wave was so strong in the state that every third youth is believed to have voted for the BJP just to see him become prime minister.
BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Vasundhara Raje admitted “there has been a big hand of Narendra Modi” in the party’s victory in Rajasthan.
“People like Gujarat’s development model and want to see the similar kind of development in Rajasthan,” she said.
Local Congress leaders, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, grudgingly accept Rahul Gandhi’s leadership actually marred the party’s prospects in the state.
Rahul’s public meetings and results
Salumber, Khedli, Chittorgarh, Bikaner, Pushkar, Jodhpur, Banswara (BJP wins all)
Modi’s public meetings and results
Alwar, Bandikui, Sawai Madhopur, Dudu, Banswara, Chittorgarh, Anta, Kota, Pilibanga, Bikaner, Sikar, Kuchera, Ajmer, Bhilwara, Sumerpur, Pokran (all won by BJP)
Khetri (BSP), Sriganganagar (NZUP)
Sardarshahar and Deeg (Congress wins both)