Will Rajasthan witness the saffron thunder again?
After a thumping victory in the assembly elections, the BJP in Rajasthan is confident of a repeat show during the Lok Sabha polls scheduled on on April 17 and 24.
Having won won 163 of the 200 assembly seats, the BJP is now eyeing 'Mission 25', alluding to the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The Congress had won 20 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 while the BJP just four. One went to then independent MP Kirodi Lal Meena. This time, however, the swing seems in favour of the BJP.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will kickstart the party's campaign in Rajasthan on Sunday but it is the charisma of chief minister Vasundhara Raje and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi that seems to be attracting voters to the saffron party fold. Modi specially seems to be a big draw among different sections of the society who see him as a focused, decisive go-getter.
Raje too has tried to prove in the short time since she became chief minster that she means business. From cutting the trappings of power like red beacons, cavalcades, security apparatus and a grand residence to setting a quick pace in government, she has tried to portray herself as a decisive leader working to fulfil the people's mandate.
The Congress has only made the task easier for the BJP. The party has not been able to pull itself out of the doldrums after its rout in the assembly polls. The morale of the party cadres is at an all-time low and party meetings have been dominated by bickering and blame games among leaders.
New Congress president Sachin Pilot has a huge task of breathing life back into the party and bringing together different factions. But, the time constraint and a lack of focus seem to have hindered attempts. In fact, a majority of the 20 Congress MPs are unsure of the victory and prepared for the worst.
The Aam Aadmi Party has not had a very strong opening in Rajasthan and is not likely to be a game-changer in Rajasthan.