Lack of trust in Congress helped BJP in Rajasthan, says Murlidhar Rao
As Rajasthan’s chief minister Ashok Gehlot met Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi in New Delhi on Tuesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said infighting and Gehlot’s preoccupation with the constituency of his son, who lost election, had helped it post a thumping victory in the state.
The BJP won all 25 parliamentary constituencies in Rajasthan, just five months after being defeated by the Congress in state assembly elections. “Chief minister Ashok Gehlot sat in the Jodhpur constituency for a month to make his son (Vaibhav Gehlot) win. That definitely demoralised other constituencies in the state,’’ said Muralidhar Rao, the BJP national general secretary holding charge of Rajasthan and Karnataka.
Rao said that his party’s teams were able to cash in on this. “Our cadres and social media then focussed on this fact and were able to get mileage out of it.’’ Rao is familiar with Jodhpur, having served as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak in the area for three years.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Saturday that some party leaders had been more concerned about their sons than the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha elections. Vaibhav Gehlot was defeated in Jodhpur by Union minister Gajendra Shekhawat by around 200,000 votes.
“The chief minister campaigned diligently in the Lok Sabha elections. He held 104 meetings for all candidates in the state and worked for all candidates. It is not true to say that he campaigned only for his son.” said Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma.
Muralidhar Rao also said that the lack of coordination and the failure of the chief minister and deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot to work together also worked to the BJP’s advantage.
“Lack of trust among the top leaders did help us,’’ said Rao, adding, “There was no single command system for the party.’’
This is perhaps the first time that a BJP leader has pointed to factionalism within the Congress as a reason for the party’s own victory. He also pointed to other factors, for instance the lack of delivery of promised farm loan waivers. “The Congress party had no accountability about why the farm loan waiver didn’t reach most people. If this wasn’t effective, people had no hopes or trust about the NYAY scheme,’’ said Rao, citing the Congress’s promise of giving Rs.72,000 a year to the poorest Indian households.
Out of the eight assembly constituencies in Jodhpur, six are with the Congress at present and so the BJP’s Shekhawat had quite an uphill task to begin with, said Rao, but the Congress proved no match.