BJP, Congress future hinges on high-stakes bypolls
In the run-up to the bypolls, the Congress is buoyed up by election results in Gujrat and local bodies.jaipur Updated: Dec 28, 2017 20:53 IST
The three by-polls in Ajmer, Alwar and Mandalgarh are being seen as a preview to the assembly elections at the end of 2018. The results could well be an indicator of whether the mood of the people is against the ruling BJP and in favour of the Congress.
With declaration of the polls, political activity has picked up too. The BJP announced on Thursday that it would celebrate late Sanwarlal Jat’s birth anniversary on January 1, indicating that the party is likely to give ticket for the Ajmer Lok Sabha bypoll to his son, Ramswaroop Lamba.
In the run-up to the bypolls, the Congress is buoyed up by election results in Gujrat and local bodies.
In Gujarat, a revived Congress put up a strong showing winning 80 seats while the BJP returned to power with a much reduced mandate wining only 99 seats. The Congress leaders see this as an indication that the mood of the nation is changing and people want a change from the BJP.
In Rajasthan, Congress leaders say its performance in the local body elections shows that the people are against the BJP.
In August, Congress won 19 out of the total 37 seats in bypolls to urban local bodies and panchayati raj institutions while the ruling BJP won 10. In the bypolls to panchayati raj institutions, BJP won 10 panchayat samiti seats and seven nagar palika wards while Congress won 16 panchayat samitis and 7 nagar palikas. Congress also snatched all four zila parishad seats from BJP.
In view of this the Lok Sabha bypolls in Alwar and Ajmer and the assembly bypoll in Mandalgarh are being seen as crucial for both parties.
BJP won 160 of 200 seats in the 2013 assembly elections and all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 general elections. However since then the BJP government is faced with many challenges. Attacks by cow vigilantes and killings of Pehlu Khan and Umar Mohammed, the heinous murder of migrant labourer Afrazul, anger among the Rajput community over the encounter of gangster Anandpal Singh, resentment among farmers over loan waiver and shifting loyalties of Jats and Gurjars have the BJP worried.
Not taking things lightly chief minister Vasundhara Rajeherself has taken the campaign reins in her hand and has visited all the constituencies going to polls and held Jan Samvad programmes meetings with caste groups in a bid to garner their support.
Both parties are focusing on strengthening its booth level structures. While Congress’s ‘Mera Booth Mera Gaurav’ campaign has been initiated to strengthen booth level network, BJP has gone ahead with a ‘panna pramukh’ or page chief. One booth has about 20 pages and one page has 50 voters names. So the panna pramukh is responsible for those votes on his page.
The BJP is sending one cabinet minister and one parliamentary secretary to visit each constituency and listen to grievances of people and resolve them at the earliest. In addition, leaders are reaching out to their caste groups to enlist their support.