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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Infighting, faulty ticket distribution cost Congress in Rajasthan election, say experts

Experts believe the Congress paid a heavy price in Rajasthan assembly election for the infighting between its two camps, led by party general secretary Ashok Gehlot and its state president Sachin Pilot , both of whom were contenders for the chief minister’s post.

rajasthan-elections Updated: Dec 14, 2018 14:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan state Congress chief Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot in conversation during the Congress legislature meeting, at party office, in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Wednesday, December 12, 2018.
Rajasthan state Congress chief Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot in conversation during the Congress legislature meeting, at party office, in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Wednesday, December 12, 2018. (Himanshu Yvas / HT Photo)
         

Political analysts say the Congress, whose victory in the Rajasthan assembly election got restricted to 99 seats out of 199, could have won more constituencies had it not been for poor ticket distribution and infighting. The party’s ally Rashtriya Lok Dal won one seat.

Election to Ramgarh constituency was adjourned on November 29 due to the death of BSP candidate Laxman Singh.

“The large number of rebels shows that the ticket distribution was not fair and that has cost the Congress,” analyst Narayen Bareth said, asserting that the process of candidate selection was “questionable”.

Experts believe the Congress paid a heavy price for the infighting between its two camps, led by party general secretary Ashok Gehlot and its state president Sachin Pilot — both of whom were contenders for the chief minister’s post.

Both the leaders had a major say in ticket distribution. Both camps had strong differences of opinion owing to which the ticket distribution was a lengthy affair with numerous rounds of meetings of leaders from the state and the party high command to resolve differences.

Click here for complete coverage of Rajasthan Assembly Election & Results 2018 and post-poll analysis

An analysis of the results from the performance of the party in the divisions controlled by Gehlot and Pilot appears to show why the party could not get the majority it was claiming.

Gehlot had a say in tickets in Jodhpur division which comprises Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Pali, Sirohi, Jalore districts. The division has 33 assembly constituencies of which the Congress won 16 and the BJP 14. One seat went to the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party and two were bagged by independents.

In Gehlot’s district, Jodhpur, the Congress won 7 of 10 seats. In the 2013 elections, the BJP had won 9 of the 10 seats here.

Read | After Madhya Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi likely to announce Rajasthan’s CM

Congress swept the districts of Barmer and Jaisalmer. It won six of seven seats in Barmer and both the seats on Jaisalmer. However in these districts, the influence of former BJP leader Manvendra Singh who joined the Congress ahead of the elections cannot be discounted. Another factor was the Rajput anger against the BJP.

But in Jalore, Sirohi and Pali districts Congress fared poorly this time too. BJP performed strongly and bagged five of six seats in Pali district wile one went to a independent

In Jalore, BJP won four seats and Congress managed only one. In Sirohi, BJP won 2 of 3 seats while a Congress rebel won one seat. Ajmer division where Pilot had a say in ticket distribution has 29 seats and comprises Ajmer, Tonk, Bhilwara and Nagaur districts.

In Nagaur, Congress snatched 6 seats from BJP despite RLTP Leader Hanuman Beniwal’s influence in the Jat dominated region. BJP and RLTP got two seats each. In Tonk, Congress won 3 of 4 seats. Pilot himself won from Tonk. But in Bhilwara and Ajmer, Pilot could not deliver the expected results for Congress.

In Bhilwara, Congress managed to win only two seats while BJP got 5. In Ajmer, from where Pilot was the MP earlier, the Congress got only 2 seats and BJP got five. One went to an independent. Congress had won the Lok Sabha by-poll in Ajmer in February.

However, Congress spokesperson denied there had been gaps in ticket distribution. “It was done taking into account everyone’s feedback. There was no infighting.” He conceded though that the Congress rebels had hurt the party. 

First Published: Dec 14, 2018 14:18 IST