The BJP is desperate to retain the desert state of India, Rajasthan and so is Congress – which wants to try its luck in the state.
Perhaps Indian politics may take a turn after the Rajasthan poll mandate irrespective of the party which will triumph. The recent bypolls which were semi-finals for both Raje and Pilot proved that there is some anti-incumbency factor in Rajasthan. February 1, 2018, was a victory day for Congress as it clinched two Lok Sabha and one assembly seat over BJP. According to noted pollster Yashwant Deshmukh, this poll mandate is a clear cut defeat for the ruling party.
And here is the ultimate shocker calculation: There are trends from 17 Assembly segments available today from #Rajasthan. If these trends are applied on full Vidhan Sabha of 200 seats; then we are staring at massive Congress sweep.
Congress: 140 seats (+119)
BJP: 53 seats (-109) pic.twitter.com/gAJk8zlFXE
— Yashwant Deshmukh (@YRDeshmukh) February 1, 2018
After a ground and grassroots analysis in Jodhpur – a stronghold of the former CM Ashok Gehlot, we have made some conclusions about these elections.
Vasundhara Raje, also known as the elected queen, is not at all queenly in Jodhpur. One slogan that shows us this is: “Modi tujhse bair nahi, Vasundhara teri khair nahi (Modi we have no problem with you, but Vasundhara you are gone).”
Across the blue city, the anti-incumbency factor was quite visible. The astonishing part is that there is hate wave against the CM, but Modiji enjoys popularity. In my opinion, this still does not imply that Raje will get votes in the name of Modi like the last election. It might be possible that Vasundhara sidelined Jodhpur following the political vendetta of her rival Ashok Gehlot.
Lata Jain, a housewife in Ganesh Nagar, told me, “I might consider voting for Modi and Gajendra Shekhawat, but Vasundhara is entirely off my account.” But her husband interrupted and said, “No matter Raje or anyone, it is Modi who matters.”
But this is not what everyone thinks. A group of old women who were chatting on the streets were of the opinion that Raje had done nothing for them. A woman working in the Nehru Yuva Awas who was a BJP supporter was of the view that, “Vasundhara is not even 1/10 of Ashok Gehlot. She being a woman failed in the subject of woman empowerment.” Thus, we can conclude that it will be the popularity of Narendra Modi and political tactics of Amit Shah which may tackle this menace. Otherwise, the BJP is going to lose this election.
Indians are easily fooled on the basis of caste and religion. The woman in Nehru Yuva Awas who I mentioned earlier, was of the opinion that the movie “Padmaavat” shouldn’t come out – not even by changing its name. She also said that the next time, Sanjay Leela Bhansali should produce a movie on Muslim lore and not manipulate Hindu tales.
Jodhpur has a considerable Rajput population so the release of the movie is going to affect election prospects on a large scale. Not only Jodhpur, but the entire Rajasthan will make enmity with Raje if this movie comes out. Moreover, the encounter of Anand Pal has already dented her image in Rajput minds.
I talked to a couple, and the girl named Garima who was a tourist from Jaipur where anti-padmaavat protests are at its acme, said that “Padmavati” should come out and that too with its true name. To my surprise she was a Rajput. Some of the people don’t know about this movie. One young man who was the owner of Bhawani Daal Batti was the trustee of the Rajput Samaj Jodhpur, and a traditional voter of the Congress told me, “Padmaavat shouldn’t come out because the samaj says this is wrong. I will vote as per guidelines of the samaj. I will vote for Karni Sena if the samaj thinks that way.”
The stay on the ban by the Honorable Supreme Court is going to be a big worry for Vasundhara Raje, not only in Jodhpur, but in the entire Rajasthan.
“Bahia vo to purani bat ho gayi, aab sab to ek hain (Brother, these are the things of past now equality is achieved).”
This was the statement of an employee who was of the Mali (gardener) caste in the OBC category. Most of the masses except the Rajput seem to pick development over casteism. Even for the Rajputs, the only caste-issue is that of Padmaavat – otherwise, they are concerned about development. General concern for jobs and colleges was quite visible. A group of college students were of the opinion that government colleges should be quickly renovated. A girl in that group interrupted that public transport should be made more feasible.
When voting is not according to caste lines, it will be a worry for both the parties. Like, for the BJP – it is a stereotype that it gets Bramhin-Baniya votes, but in this election, looking towards the aspects of local development, their vote may change. This trend is a delight for democracy and a great worry for politicians. According to me, Jodhpur is yet to develop as per foreign tourist standards, and steps should be taken in this perspective. Social progress lacks a lot in the entire state, and measures should be taken in that way.
Near the streets of Ghanta Bazaar, there was one hoarding of Sachin Pilot which proclaimed “Ayegi Pilot Sarkar (Pilot will be elected next).”
Pointing to that, I asked a shopkeeper about Sachin Pilot he said, and that in his eyes, he was good, but not of the level of Ashok Gehlot. He was yet to decide on his choice, but he was distressed by the implementation of GST. Sachin Pilot influences Bharatpur and nearby regions, but Jodhpur seems to be the stronghold of Ashok Gehlot and the BJP.
If Pilot wants to be the CM, then one thing he needs to work more and more on is the grassroots level, like he is doing in Alwar and Ajmer, which gave him victory. Moreover, his residence is not in Rajasthan, which will give the BJP a golden chance to demean him. The conclusion is that Pilot is a youth leader for the rest of Rajasthan, but he needs to work a lot therein.
Apart from this, the GST and note ban will take a toll on the ruling party. The PM’s speech in Barner would also influence voter’s choice. According to the people, the Barner oil refinery was inaugurated long ago. There are leaders like Hanuman Beniwal who are going to play spoilers in this upcoming game. A young man who was having Mungodis told me that Hanuman Bhaiya will make it on more than 10-12 seats as his agenda is pro-farmer. It seems that Hanuman Beniwal’s front will play the role of what INLD played in Uttar Pradesh, i.e. division of Jat votes.
Frankly speaking, Narendra Modi can’t be the saviour of the party every time.The BJP should carry forward its old game of not naming the CM face till the elections and then declare it after the polls like it did in the Gujarat elections. This will help the BJP to counter the anti-Raje wave which is visible in Jodhpur. Other regional leaders, namely Ashok Parmani should be given a prominent role in the upcoming elections.
The future of Congress in Rajasthan and Sachin Pilot is inter-dependent. Though Sachin Pilot is younger than Rahul Gandhi, he seems much mature and responsible in the grand old party. Sachin Pilot not only has the calibre to lead voices in Rajasthan but also, he can speak with the stature of a national leader.
But to achieve this, he needs to work more and more particularly on the booth level. The bypoll result in Alwar and Ajmer was a litmus test for his skills. But the big question remains whether his elevation to CM face is without any internal conflict? I don’t think so because he passed the test with flying colours.
Pilot has a great chance to give India a strong opposition, and it will start from the Rajasthan Congress victory.