Rajasthan assembly election: Vasundhara Raje lost perception battle before poll loss - Hindustan Times
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Rajasthan assembly election: Vasundhara Raje lost perception battle before poll loss

Hindustan Times, Jaipur | By
Dec 12, 2018 02:14 PM IST

The two-time chief minister was unable to break the jinx of the incumbent being voted out of power in the state.

In what was a make-or-break election for chief minister Vasundhara Raje, her perception of being inaccessible and disconnected from the people was earmarked as the biggest reason for the party falling from a historic mandate in 2013 to distant second in the 2018 assembly elections.

Vasundhara Raje interacts at CMO in Jaipur Rajasthan on Tuesday.(Himanshu Vyas\ Hindustan Times)
Vasundhara Raje interacts at CMO in Jaipur Rajasthan on Tuesday.(Himanshu Vyas\ Hindustan Times)

The two-time chief minister was unable to break the jinx of the incumbent being voted out of power in the state.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 73 seats as opposed to the Congress’s 99, with analysts attributing the party’s performance to a last-minute campaign blitz by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It was marginally better than what most exit polls had predicted a drubbing for the saffron party – some even forecast a tally below 50 seats . In the last assembly election in 2013, the Congress had won just 21 seats and the BJP had got a whopping 163.

Raje, a five-time MP and a four-time MLA, defeated Manvendra Singh, son of former Union minister Jaswant Singh and a Rajput leader, in her bastion of Jhalrapatan by 30,000 votes.

Raje’s second term as chief minister was marked by repeated speculation about her possible removal over reports of souring ties with the party high command. At the state level, there were complaints by her ministers, MLAs and party workers that she was inaccessible and arrogant.

Her detractors became louder after a prolonged farmers’ agitation in Sikar, where the government response was seen as inadequate, and heavy losses in Lok Sabha bypolls in Ajmer and Alwar last year.

Raje was also seen as having had her say in the appointment of the state BJP chief and in the distribution of tickets. The BJP’s rebel candidates problem was far less pronounced than in the Congress.

Party leaders said on the condition of anonymity that she might not want to accept the post of Leader of Opposition.

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