History of Rajasthan
The state of Rajasthan, the largest Indian state by area and the seventh largest by population, came into formation on 30th March, 1949, when Rajputana- the name adopted by the British Raj for its dependencies in the regions, was merged with the Union of India. Various Rajput kingdoms have established their base on the land from the 7th to 11th century, including the Gurjara-Pratiharas. History mentions the Chauhans in the 11th century to establish their bases in Ajmer, who hence emerged as a major power back then. Gradually the Kachwahas, Bhattis, and Rathores established their kingdoms there.
The state of Rajasthan has had an interesting past with the Mughal invaders, much before the British Raj came into picture. Under the kingship of Rana Sanga of Mewar, the province lost the war to the known invader Babur, and in a few years, his grandson, Akbar took over or formed alliances with the Rajputs through various policies and arranging marriages with the Rajputana princesses. Under his kingship, the Rajput states were grouped into the Suba of Ajmer under the Mughal Rule. However, after the death of Aurangzeb, a Jat conqueror formed the state of Bharatpur in the Rajput province, which was subdued when the Maratha kingdom rose in the west central area of India.
In the later years of the 19th century, the British Raj subdued the Maratha kingdom too, and all the Rajput kingdoms were reorganized into the Rajputana province. The Government of India, at that time, had a representation in the Rajputana province, by a political officer called the Governor General of the state, who was simultaneously recruited as the Chief Commissioner of the British province of Ajmer-Merwara at that time. After the Indian independence of 1947, all Princely states and provinces were confederated into one single state through various stages and after the States Reorganization Act of 1956, Rajasthan took the shape of its present day.
Rajasthan has been politically dominated by two major state parties – Sh. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat from the Bharatiya Janata Party and Sh. Mohan Lal Sukhadia of the Indian National Congress, along with Bahujan Samaj Party, Janta Party, Janta Dal, Swatantra Party, CPIM, Ram Rajya Parishad which have also been influential in the past.
The first state merger of the State of Rajasthan took place on 17th March, 1948, which was termed as Matsya Union and the Cabinet of this Union was formed under the leadership of Shree Shobha Lal of INC from Alwar. The second merger took place for the State of Rajasthan on 25th March, 1948 and Shree Gokul Lala Asawa was appointed as the Chief Minister. However, after 3 days of the last merger, the Maharana of Udaipur decided to join the union and it was widely accepted by the Government of India and this United Nations of Rajasthan was framed under Pt Jawaharlal Nehru on 18th April, 1948 and the cabinet of this third merger was formed under the leadership of Shree Manikya Lal Verma of the Indian National Congress. This paved way for other big states at that time, namely Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and the formation of Greater Rajasthan was initiated, which finally came into formation on 30th March 1949, under the then Deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The Cabinet of the forth merger was formed under the leadership of Hira Lal Shastri, INC. On its fifth stage, gradually the Matsya Union merged with Greater Rajasthan on 15th May, 1949 and Sh. Hira Lal became the first Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Later on 26th January 1950, the state of Sirohi merged in its sixth stage, with the 18 states of United Rajasthan. In the year 1956, the State Reorganization Act took place, and under the seventh stage, the former part ‘C’ state of Ajmer, Abu Road Taluka, former part of Sirohi, which was initially merged with Bombay (former), State and Sunel Tappa region of Madhya Pradesh (former) merged with the state of Rajasthan and Sironj sub-district was added to Madhya Pradesh . On 1st November 1956, the process of reorganization of Rajasthan got completed and Sh. Mohan lal Sukhadia, INC became the Chief Minister and Sh. Gurumukh Nihal Singh got the post of the Governor .
Since the mergers were completed, there have been constant hurdles among the masses for the districts. Apart from the power struggles between the Rajput princes and the Jats, the decisions of INC of merging all provinces of Rajasthan to form Greater Rajasthan was opposed by the rulers of Bikaner and Jodhpur. In 1953, the former Minister of the State of Bikaner called for the Bikaner Bandh to protest against its merger with Rajasthan, as they wanted a separate Desert State which would be known as Maru Pradesh. The year 1956 witnessed many protests while other states were being formed under the governance of the Indian National Congress. The pleas of the states were overheard, however , eminent names came up supporting the demands of the ruler of Bikaner and Jodhpur, namely Sh. Amrit Nahata, MP from Barmer, former Foreign Minister Sh. Jaswant Singh from BJP, Congress leader Sh. Rameshwar Lal Dudi, MP and RLP leader Sh. Hanuman Beniwal , Sh. Suresh Chaudhary former MLA. However the pleas were not paid any heed.
Another major demand when it comes to the state of Rajasthan is the demand of Bhil Pradesh, by the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), which would add the districts of Udaipur, Banswara, Dungarpur, Pratapgarh and Chittorgarh with Mangarh Dham as its capital. The demand of the Tribal community was to have their own separate state, carved from the tribal domains of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat as they believe that their customs and traditions vary with that of their current state domains and after the division of states, the tribals were scattered and suppressed.
As per the 2020 Intelligence Report of Rajasthan Police to Hindustan Times, protests were evident in the south of Rajasthan for two years, by leading BTP youth and now the leader has initiated an added protest for the demand of Bhil Pradesh. However Sh. Raghuveer Singh Meena of the Congress Working Committee stated that Congress gave utmost importance to the current political scenario of Rajasthan and its relation with the tribals. The Bharatiya Tribal Party, which was formed in Gujarat in the year 2017, and won 2 seats out of 200 in the 2018 Assembly Polls, organized a huge rally in the town of Udaipur on 14th February, 2019, to voice out their demand for the state as well as their own resources which they will use . BTP joined the INC party , however it withdrew its support in 2020, and currently is allied with AAP as per the April 2022 updates, to fulfill its demands from the Government.
Politics of the state and its instability
The state of Rajasthan has seen two prime staunch political parties – Bharatiya Janata Party, represented by Sh. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and the Indian National Congress, represented by Sh. Mohan Lal Sukhadia. Since the time of the mergers, the Indian National Congress has been in power in Rajasthan under the governance of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, with strong opposition , mainly from Bharatiya Sangh and Swatantra Party, led by local rulers of Rajasthan. But the power of INC was untouched till 1962.
After these prevailing years of rule, another prominent name which rose among the public, along with Shekhawat from BJP, Smt. Rajmata Gayatri Devi who was representing the local rulers from Swatantra Party. Both these parties rose to be prominent and wanted by the public, however they failed to form a Government . 1967-1971 were eminent years for INC, as it gained almost full control on the Government of India and the Parliament. Congress won with high numbers in 1972, after the win in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, with application of public policies like reduction of poverty and winning the confidence of the public(especially the dalits, women and minorities) on improvement in living conditions with security, which itself was a shock to the opponents. The economical condition of India after the war, the Oil crisis and the internal conflict between the states and parties at that point forced India to apply the President’s rule or Emergency, and it was during that time that Sh. Bhairon Shekhawat gained all confidence and popularity from the public after he was sent to Rohtak jail. As soon as the ‘Emergency’ period came to an end, Sh. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat won on behalf of Janata Party( now aligned with Bharatiya Janata Party) , bagging 151 seats out of 200 in Rajasthan and became the first non – INC Chief Minister of Rajasthan from the period 22nd June, 1977 to 16th February 1980.
When Smt. Indira Gandhi came back to power in 1980, she dismissed the JP government from Rajasthan and in the following election of 1980, INC gained victory over the state. As per the analysis report in one of India’s leading newspaper, ousting of the opposition from the states INC did not win before 1980 becomes necessary for Congress because if those parties would have aligned, the coming back in power for INC would have been difficult but if not, then INC could bag majority of the votes. The much-created political instability by INC was a major step to win over the elections, said the analysis of the leading Indian newspaper. 1985 was a winning year too for INC, taking into consideration all the sympathy and public support that INC gained after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. However, Congress had to face the aligned force of BJP and JD(U) and the wave of public support this alliance received made it win 25 seats in Lok Sabha and 140 out of 200 seats in the Assembly. JD parted ways with its alliance, but Shekhawat still became and ruled as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan for the second time.
On 6th December 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished in Ayodhya, and eminent BJP, VHP and RSS leaders were named for the incident, which made the then Prime Minister Sh. Narsimha Rao, of the Indian national congress to suspend the governance of BJP in the states it was ruling back then , which evidently included Rajasthan too and President’s rule was again enforced here. In the 1993 elections, BJP again won in the state of Rajasthan, and significantly the riots around the capital and the nation did not deviate the votes of the people of Rajasthan from supporting Shekhawat’s government. However the then Governor, Sh. Bali Ram Bhagat went against the idea of letting Shakhawat form his Government in the state of Rajasthan , but with immense pressure and support from politicians like Sh. Sujan Singh Yadav, Rani Narendra Kanwar, Sh. Rohitashva Kumar Sharma, Kr. Arun Singh, Sardar Gurjant Singh, etc, the party crossed the majority line of 101 votes in the Assembly and thus came into a successful tenure of power for the third time.
In 1998, Ashok Gehlot- led Congress party won the elections over the issue with rising prices of onions and other vegetables and how the Government was insensitive towards the sufferings of its own people. However , just after half a year of his victory, he lost the 1999 Assembly Poll elections. The BJP face of Rajasthan, Sh. Shekhawat became the Vice President of India and had to leave BJP politics in the state of Rajasthan, and was replaced by Smt. Vasundhara Raje was in power as Chief Minister from 8th December 2003 to 11th December 2011, winning the 2004 Lok Sabha Elections too. However, things were different during the 2008 elections, when internal conflicts within the party pulled its power and presence down along with the Gujjar conflict, due to which most independent MLAs supported the win of Congress , with Sh. Ashok Gehlot as the Chief Minister.
Even after the 2008 elections, the stability of the Government in Rajasthan has been in an on and off position with BJP again winning the 2013 elections and being in power till 2018, and with Sh. Ashok Gehlot currently in power from INC again from 2018.
The state of Rajasthan is divided into 33 districts politically and as per its administration. These 33 districts have 200 constituencies under it, which comes under the rule of the political parties winning from the constituencies.
Past Election Result Analysis
In the 2013 Vidhan Sabha Elections, it was a historic win for the Bharatiya Janata Party – NDA alliance , after 5 years , which is considered as a major comeback by the party. The last time Rajasthan witnessed such a major win was during the 1998 elections where Congress won 153 seats. However this win by BJP secured 163 votes, with Smt. Vasundhara Raje as the face of BJP in Rajasthan.
Congress faced its worst performance, with just 21 seats in the Rajya Sabha, much lower than its 1977 performance with 41 seats .
With the various political parties forming their majority groups, one prime factor in the Assembly elections was caste politics- the major division between the Jats and the Rajputs. It was evident that from 1957, the Rajputs started getting sidelined, after the Jats (given reservation) and Bishnois established their base. However, the lost pride of the Rajputs was regained when they won 26 seats in the Assembly Polls out of which 16 seats were won by Rajput leads, under BJP.
The BJP support has mainly been from the Rajputs, as Sh. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was the face of BJP, himself being from a Rajput family. INC could never bag that support from the Rajput due to the land reforms of the Congress Government, which kicked the Rajputs out of their own lands, giving someone else the ownership of those ancestral lands. Before the Assembly Polls, BJP introduced two eminent Rajput faces to the party – Sh. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and the Jaipur Princess Diya Kumari. Added to this, when Smt. Vasundhara Raje stood for the CM position in the elections, she gained support from Jats also, as she was the daughter-in-law of a Jat family. The 2013 Polls bagged 25 ST seats and 34 SC seats from the state of Rajasthan in favor of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The major parties to fight for the seats in Rajasthan in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Congress, with BJP securing 100 percent seats in the Lok Sabha with 55.6 % votes and 25 seats whereas INC gained 30.7 % vote share with 0 seats. As per reports and aligning with the expectations, BJP was to win in the states of Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
The final results of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were very similar to the 1989 elections, where Congress lost all 25 seats of the House. The prime reason, as analyzed by officials, was the fulfillment of promises that made the public question its choice to bring Congress into power. One reason was the unemployment allowances that Congress promised during the last Assembly Polls election. The face of INC in Rajasthan, Sh. Ashok Gehlot made a promise of Rs. 3000 to men and Rs. 3500 to women by the exact dates they mentioned. However the unfulfillment of this laid down a question mark on the party. On one hand where INC had its old economic model and infrastructural ideas running, BJP had the new successful Gujrat model to apply on, with high priority investments from abroad. With the ongoing scams on a Congress Government- 2G license scam, Railgate and Coalgate scam, despite getting votes from selected districts, INC could not bag seats of the House.
Although Indian National Congress got 82,30,001 votes, blame of weak financial institutions, submissive opinions on global matters with Arab and Afghanistan, falling currency values and slow rise in economy played major roles for the state to not vote for INC in the Lok Sabha elections. As per the Economic and Political Weekly, 2014 issue, it was observed that pertaining to the situation of India at that point, the main choice of non Congress voters was also inclined towards BJP. A record of the same publication says that BJP had around more than 35% votes from dissatisfied voters, in states which were already non-Congress. In Congress ruled states, INC was preferred as the ruling party by only 40% voters, whereas BJP had a vote support of nearly 73% who were satisfied with how their state governments were functioning.
The next segment election, 2018 Assembly Polls was a table turner for Bharatiya Janata Party as it lost a major share of its Vote Bank. The count of Vidhan Sabha seats which was 163 in the year 2013, dropped to 73. INC rose to having 99 seats in the Assembly , with a majority of 39.8% votes. Another party which was pretty prominent in the national politics, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) , bagged 0.4% votes in the Polls, however with no seats in the Assembly.
The agrarian distress was one prime reason why BJP lost its seats in Rajasthan. The public, especially the agrarian sector of Rajasthan could not feel the support from the party, as no permanent actions were being taken for the farmer loans that they demanded. The waiver introduced by the Raje Government could only waive a very small portion of their loans, out of their huge debts. The garlic oversupply in the market caused farmers to commit suicide in Haroti region. On the other hand, the Congress President, Sh. Rahu Gandhi promised that within 10 days of coming into power, the party would work on the waiver.
For the subjects of the state, people felt that the then Chief Minister, Smt. Vasundhara Raje was not available when needed , even to her Cabinet colleagues. The BJP Government had promised 15 lakhs jobs in the state once they came to power, however when the Ministry of Labor and Employment released the list, the count was merely 2.17 lakhs. The Rajasthan Skill and Livelihood Development Corporation could only achieve 48.90 % of their target in the period between 2014-2017.
The Raje Government leader was seen to have different interests from what people knew BJP or the face of Modi to be. She ordered the beautification of the roads and the state, however due to this process, few Hindu temples came under the pathway of construction and had to be disrupted. This went against the Hindu support for BJP. The parent organization of the party, RSS , went against this issue. The MLAs under the leadership of Smt. Vasundhara Raje also tend to have pretty different interests from the needs of the public and hence, this drifted the votes of the public to support Congress, who has been ruling on and off the state since the formation. The Rajputs also turned against BJP when one of their eminent persons, Sh. Anandpal Singh was encountered by police. BJP lost a major vote bank from the Rajputs.
The 2019 Lok Sabha elections varied largely with what the previous Assembly Polls decided upon. In a state which accounts for 25 seats in the Lok Sabha, The Bharatiya Janata Party won 24 seats and secured 59.1% votes from the public and repeated its performance as per the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
It was evident from the win that soon after the predicted disliking for Smt. Vasundhara Raje, the party had started its public campaigning in a much proactive way. Union Minister Sh. Prakash Javadekar was given the charge of the party in Rajasthan and the prime focus was the Lok Sabha win even after losing power in the Polls last year.
One prime strategy adopted by BJP was focusing on the beneficiaries for various welfare and health schemes. Factionalism among the party members of Congress, choosing wrong candidates and the popularity of Sh. Narendra Modi were some prime reasons why BJP won the 2019 elections in Rajasthan. After Raje’s incident with the public, the message from BJP was loud and clear to the state that their votes would be for Sh. Narendra Modi and not for the candidate they would be voting for. The prime focus in rallies was also instilling the quotient of emotion in a state, which shared its borders with Pakistan.
INC, despite winning the Assembly, lost its seats in the House, due to its inadequate organizational structure and lack of workers present on the ground level.
Major Voter Groups
The caste system has always been a top priority while campaigning for votes in the Indian democratic which is known for its secularism. In the 2003 and 2013 elections, the then candidate of BJP, Smt. Vasundhara Raje chose to use the same policy, and drawed the Rajputs, Gujjars and the Jats towards Bharatiya Janata Party.
The very same caste based votes helped BJP win the 2019 elections, with a majority of 24 seats after losing the Assembly Polls in the previous year.
The actual results of the 2019 elections show that the Modi government , combined, received a vote share of 61 %. In a post poll survey by Axis-my-India, it shows that BJP got the support of 55 % ST voters and 40 % votes of the rest were for INC. The support from Muslims votes were calculated to be 10 % whereas, the rest supported Congress in the elections. 75 % of the General category voted for BJP, 6% for other independent parties and a vote of 16% was towards the Congress party. 5% of the OBCs and the Rajputs voted for the BJP . Only 20% of the OBCs and 19% of the Rajputs voted for Congress in Rajasthan.
Data from the Assembly Polls election in Rajasthan for the year 2018:
- Both, BJP and Congress had filed 33 candidates each from the Jat community for the elections to win.
- 26 Rajputs had their candidature from BJP and 15 from INC.
- INC had 15 Muslim candidates, apart from the Brahmins, Vaishyas, OBC, ST and SCs.
- 15 candidates opposing each other from Jat community between BJP and Congress.
- The Brahmin count against each other for BJP and Congress was 7 seats, Gurjars and Yadavs for 2, Rajputs for 4.
The major communities of Rajasthan, Rajputs, Jats, Meenas and Gujjars,in the 2018 elections voted for INC and helped the party to regain power for the 5 year tenure. The Rajputs have a 6% population in the state of Rajasthan and hold over 30 seats out of 200 in the Assembly. During the Assembly polls, BJP gave 24 tickets to the Rajputs and only 8 won. On the other hand, Congress gave 13 tickets and 6 won from their constituencies.
The reasons were pretty clear with the Rajputs not supporting BJP in the Polls election – Vasundhara Raje’s opposition to appointing Union Minister Gajendra Shekhawat as state party chief, ongoing controversy over Bollywood movie Padmavat, BJP’s denial to give ticket to Sh. Jaswant Singh , in 2014 elections.
For INC, it was the state party chief, Sh. Sachin Pilot, whose support got the Gujjars, who hold power for at least 30 seats, including Dausa, Karauli, Hindaun, and Tonk, to vote for Congress as it was his community. INC won 20 out of 28 seats in Eastern Rajasthan, with the support of 16% population votes from Gujjars and Meenas. The Jats have been supporting INC since the farm laws were introduced in 1954, as most of the Jats in Rajasthan were from the agrarian society.
However after the Emergency was declared in Rajasthan , the Jats went against Congress. The Vajpayee government declared the Jats to be under the OBC category, and hence gained their support. Also, the Jats wanted a Jat leader from INC to represent them in the Government and hence they voted for Congress and helped the party win 150 seats with the hope that they will have Sh. Parasnath Maderna as their leader, however the post went to Sh. Ashok Gehlot. Hence, in the next election, they voted for BJP and the votes for INC dropped to 56 from 150.
As per analysis, Jat voters have a hold on around 90 out of the 200 constituencies and are a dominant force in Shekhawati and Marwar regions. In districts such as Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Churu, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Nagaur, Ajmer, Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Barmer and Jaisalmer, the Jat community play a major role in sending candidates for the Assembly.
BJP Kisan Morcha
The Farmer’s Wing of the BJP is the Bharat Kisaan Morcha, with Sh. Satyapal Malik in-charge of the wing. The organization decides on the welfare of the farmers under it, the work done for the farmers at the grassroot level and their rights in the market Discussions within Morcha involves the Morcha President and the Agriculture minister, where issues such as increase in cost of farming, rise in price of diesel, short supply and black marketing of fertilizers are discussed. It brings in issues related to farmers and their subsidies it receives from the state government.
Just like, during the COVID times, the farmers were hit the most with labor shortage, poor prices in the market, major fluctuations in the demand market along with transportation hurdles. The BJP Morcha head is in charge of making sure that these problems are looked at by the BJP party and the central government.
Bharatiya Mahila Morcha
Bharatiya Mahila Morcha is the women’s wing of BJP , that looks into the welfare and security of women in the states, along with the women rights they should be having. In a recent committee meeting in Jaipur, resolution was passed to save the state from being the crime capital for women. The decision was taken after records showing the number of heinous crimes against women rising at an alarming rate in the state.
The organization President claimed that BJP is the only political party that has given equal opportunities to the women in the society and the schemes introduced by the Modi Government had been greatly benefiting the women of the country and providing real empowerment. To fulfill their demands, there have been constant protests in every district and proper planning of three months before execution of the programmes for the women of the state.
Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha is the youth wing of BJP, founded in 1978, with Sh. Tejasvi Surya as the Youngest President of BJYM since 2020. BJYM has conducted various campaigns till date to align and support the Bharatiya Janata Party. BJYM looks into the various demands of the youth of the states.
On 25th January 2018, the then President of BJYM, Smt. Poonam Mahajan launched a drive to reach out to first time voters. The idea behind this was to get the support of the millennials, to connect with them and make sure that they enroll themselves on the voting list, as they would get their voting rights from that year.
The organization also planned to launch a two month campaign programme, to support the MODI government in its re-election in 2019. As per records, about 150 million new voters were supposed to vote that year. The prime aim of the campaign with the title “Vijay Lakshmi” was to spread a positive ideology among the youngsters in the states, about the Modi Government and that their support would be for Sh. Narendra Modi and not for the candidates they would be voting from their constituencies. BJYM reached to the universities and colleges through their campus ambassadors, and then engaged the public there by talking about the policies of Modi and the firm decisions made by his Government.
Another outreach that BJYM planned to launch was for the Muslim community to provide aid centres to victims of instant divorce. BJP had planned to provide teams of youths for every district to work on the campaigns, with the motive to reach as many people as possible.
BJP Minority Morcha
BJP Minority Morcha is the official wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The prime agenda of the morcha is to rectify on the impression that the minority sections have been having aout BJP. On 25 May, 2007, the BJMM said that it would reach out to its Muslim minorities to discard the distorted opinions about the party. On the same day, the BJP Minority President said that they would hold rallies in districts and capitals to educate and inform the Muslim minorities how they have been taken on sides by various political parties just for votes and hence this organization was formed so that they can bring up their own demands and issues and be vocal about it. Unlike the UPA parties, BJP wanted to educate the minorities not because of their religion but because of an increase in their employment and empowerment.
Current Political Instability in Rajasthan
The Ashok Gehlot Government, after getting re-elected in the 2018 elections, had been facing a wave of political instability since the 2020. On 12th July, 19 members of the Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan flew to Delhi after disputes between the factions of the Indian National Congress and it is since then that the state has been under a crisis.
Sh. Sachin Pilot, the then Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan flew from Jaipur to Delhi, along with 18 other MLAs, and claimed publicly that they had 30 MLAs on their side and could overpower the Gehlot Government in Rajasthan. The same was conveyed to the Congress leader Sh. Rahul Gandhi and the President of INC, Smt. Sonia Gandhi. However when Sh. Ashok Gehlot conveyed the matter, BJP was put into the trail and it was informed to them that it was BJP infiltrating through the party to destabilize the Government, to which BJP denied stating it was all an internal matter of INC and BJP had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Sh. Sachin Pilot in an immediate meeting thereafter , confirmed that he was not joining BJP and he wanted the position of the Chief Minister of Rajasthan , which he was denied from, after the win of INC in the 2018 Polls election. Immediately after this, he was removed from the position of Deputy Chief Minister for the state of Rajasthan, along with 2 other MLAs.
On 15th July, 2020, Sh. Sachin Pilot called in for a press conference , as he was removed from the post of the Deputy CM as well as the President of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee. However the conference was later canceled. The BJP Rajasthan President, Sh. Satish Poonia criticized the INC for not choosing a young leader as the CM and hence losing out on him. Later, Sh. Sachin Pilot was called in by the Speaker of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly for his dissolution in the assembly.
Education Minister Sh. Govind Singh replaced Sachin Pilot in the position of President in Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee. Cabinet Ministers Sh. Vishvendra Singh and Sh. Ramesh Chand and State Presidents of Rajasthan Pradesh Youth Congress and Rajasthan Pradesh Sewa Dal, who supported Sachin Pilot were also sacked. This instability due to the decisions of Sachin Pilot and henceforth the blames on BJP led to rivalry between BJP and INC and hence the Governor of Rajasthan, NDA led Sh. Kalraj Misra and the Chief Minister of the state, Sh. Ashok Gehlot. The notice period of commencing the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly became an issue where the CM wanted an immediate session whereas the Governor did not agree to it and wanted a time period of 21 days. After this rift, Gehlot shifted his MLAs from Jaipur to Jaisalmer.
On 10th August, the situation changed when Sh. Sachin Pilot met the President of INC and hence the factions of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee united thereafter. On 14th August, Sh. Gehlot won the trust vote in the Assembly, however 73 BJP MLAs did not show up during the session. Siince then, there has been a series of mistrust among the members of the party itself.
As elections approach, there have been series and waves of rumors, political gossips and national issues in and around the state of Rajasthan. There has been political activity on the borders of Bikaner and Jodhpur, on demands of citizenship to minorities from Pakistan, who have been living as refugees now. Caste politics between Hindus and Muslims have also been pretty active during Navratri and Ramadan season. Initially it was just BJP and INC in the mainstream politics, now we have AAP also. Political theories have come up that big leaders like Sh. Sachin Pilot from INC and Sh. Hanuman Beniwal of Rashtriya Loktantrik Party would join AAP in the times to come.
With the state of Rajasthan having an unstable political background, BJP has always been playing a major role in Rajasthan politics. It has played crucial roles in areas where the state was lacking support. The Jats went against Congress and the Vajpayee Government declared that Jats would be categorized as OBC category, and hence gained their support.
Another issue raised by them was the fact that they wanted a Jat to represent them in the Government, and so in 2019, Sh. Satish Poonia became the first Jat BJP President in the Government. Sh. Poonia, although was from the anti-Vasundhara camp as they developed disputes during Raje’s second term of CM, he still had connections with the masses in the ground level. The Bharatiya Janata Party has never taken a step back in complete representation of all castes and religions in their party, for the people who support them Hence Sh. Satish Poonia was an obvious choice, when BJP has Sh. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, a Rajput, Sh. Arjun Ram Meghwal, who comes from an SC social group and Sh. Om Birla, general category member, who is also the Lok Sabha Speaker.
Currently keeping in mind the Assembly Polls, where in 2018 Bharatiya Janata Party lost by 26 seats, the party has already started looking into the list of voters, and appoint 11 lakh ‘Panna Pramukh’ for the 52,000 booths in the state, to make sure that all the voters go to the booths and cast their votes.
Issues with BJP infightings
With Sh. Gulab Chand Katari as the current opposition leader from BJP, the Raje factor is playing a dominant role in the Rajasthan politics. Keeping in mind the infightings in INC and the upcoming Assembly Polls in 2023, the Raje faction is coming up to be stronger in the state. It was evident that the former Chief Minister has been quite low for the time being, since BJP’s me with the change in leadership to Sh. Satish Poonia, giving powers to other Union ministers like Sh. Arjun Mehwal, Sh. Kailash Choudhury and Sh. Gajendra Shekhawat and during the political crisis with INC and Sh. Sachin Pilot. However now her supporters want her to be in the big picture. At a meeting held on 14th February, 2021, her supporters and MLAs confirmed that she would propose Smt. Vasundhara Raje’s name for the CM candidate and would vouch for a higher power in the party, rather than just being a face of the party. The faction decided to launch a rally, Govardhan Yatra to show the strength and influence she has on her people, and Sh. Amit Shah would also be invited for the same.
As per an article in The Print, the MLAs have stated that Smt. Raje does not share a cordial relationship with the BJP high command due to the past issues that she had faced during her tenure. This infighting between the factions is one of the worst secrets for the party . However, her supporter MLAs have stated that the only face that can overpower Sh. Ashok Gehlot in the state is Smt. Vasundhara Raje herself, because of the huge vote share of the Rajputs, the Gujjar and the Jats she can bring in. On the other hand, Sh. Satish Poonia completely denied the faction’s rumor and said that the party is one unified party and even in 2023, Sh. Narendra Modi would be the face of the election, like 2019 Lok Sabha, and not any particular candidate, while the rest would fight under collective leadership. Hence the Poonia faction and Raje faction would be face to face for the 2023 elections.
Congress has been in power in Rajasthan since the formation of the state, including the times of the mergers. Currently, with Sh. Ashok Gehlot as the leader of the party and the current Chief Minister of the state, the party is preparing its policies and strategies to win a majority of the assembly seats for the 2023 Polls election.
To have a hold on 52 major targeted seats, INC is calling back its veteran leaders and ministers, who would act as the face of the party in those constituencies. The Congress Seva Dal has been given the responsibilities to manage the elections for the year 2023 . The party is focusing primarily on the seats where BJP has been winning for a long stretch of time now, the constituencies being – Sri Ganganagar, Anupgarh, Bhadra, Bikaner East, Udaipurwati, Khandela, Shahpura, Phulera, Vidyadhar Nagar,Asind, Malviya Nagar, Kushalgarh,Sanganer, Bassi, Kishangarh Bas, Behrod, Thanagaji, Alwar City, Nagar, Nadbai, Mahwa, Gangapur, Sirohi, Malpura, Ajmer North, Ajmer South, Beawar, Nagaur, Khinvsar,Ramganj Mandi, Ratangarh,Merta, Jaitaran, Sojat, Pali, Marwar Junction, Bali, Bhopalgarh, Sursagar, Siwana, Bhinmal, Revdar, Ghatol,Dholpur, Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Bundi, Kota South, Ladpura, Jhalrapatan , Udaipur and Khanpur.
INC plans to take feedback from the public about the candidates from these respected areas, and visit door to door, to convince the public to vote for the party. The Gehlot Government had been blaming BJP for their power crisis openly, and the party members are expecting that the table to turn in favor of Congress once the budget for the state is being declared by Sh. Ashok Gehlot. INC has used the weapon to woo the house heads of the households by targeting the Old Pension Scheme and demanding the NPS policy to be removed, for the welfare of his subjects, as per him.
However the question for INC in the eyes of the public remains the same on the matter of who would be the face of CM if Congress wins the election, keeping in mind the rift between Sh. Ashok Gehlot and Sh. Sachin Pilot. To this, the Education Minister Sh. BD Kalla had responded to the media that the name for the Chief Minister candidate would be ultimately decided by the Congress High command, however the party wants Ashok Gehlot to be in the position.
In a recent tweet, Ashok Gehlot showed his discontent . The tweet was in pursuit of him, resigning from his position to which Rajasthan’s Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sh. Ashok Chandna reacted that he should transfer his work and department to Sh. Kuldeep Ranka, the CM’s principal secretary . The rift between Gehlot and Pilot was pretty evident before the 2018 elections also , but it seems the High Command did not do anything to solve it at that point of time and hence now, at the crucial moment of the upcoming 2023 elections, this rift between the factions have caused a severe infighting and mistrust among the members itself. It was evident in recent rallies also where Sh. Gehlot blamed Sh. Sachin Pilot for dividing the party, however he joined back in the very year 2020 itself. Political analysts state that Pilot was quiet for a long time of 2 years, however his motive to nominate his name for the Chief Minister of Rajasthan is still the same.
Along with this faction rift, the Kothari culture of Politics, where certain top bureaucratic officials are politically close to the ministers and work internally, have also been playing a major role in the fall of INC, where the right hand of CM Ashok Gehlot is Sh. Kuldeep Ranka, which is causing MLAs not to get their work done easily and promoting rift in the bureaucratic control of power. To add to all of this, districts of Alwar, Karauli and Jodhpur have been witnessing lots of communal violence, however the CM, who is also an MLA from Jodhpur had not been visiting the constituency after ruch violence. Such nature was not unnoticed by the Muslims and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi in a recent meeting spoke against Congress. If this happens, then INC is going to lose its major vote from the minorities. Although Congress has been in Rajasthan for a very long time now, connecting with people is something which it is losing on. The high command has nominated Sh. Randeep Singh Surjewala, Sh. Mukul Wasnik and Sh. Pramod Tiwari from Rajasthan for leadership positions , whereas none of them are actually from Rajasthan. This would make the people feel that the party is not connected to them and is there just for ruling and not supporting because they are losing their own representation in the government.
Sh. Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party, took part in the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha elections for the first time in the year 2018, and secured 136,345 votes from the public , with 0.38% vote share. The party had contested for 142 seats but could not win any seats in the Assembly. However, for the upcoming 2023 elections, the party had declared that it would contest for all 200 seats in the Assembly, for which it is forming a new organization to work towards the goal of establishing the mark of AAP in the politics of Rajasthan.
The election convenor of the party is Sh. Vinay Mishra, who inaugurated the party office of AAP in the city of Jaipur, with high confidence after their win in Punjab. The prime target area which Sh. Vinay Mishra made clear on Day 1 of the inauguration that it was only Sh. Arvind Kejriwal who could fight for the problems of water, electricity bill , heath and education for the people of Rajasthan. Sh. Mishra also declared that the roots of the party were getting stronger as the general public was taking interest in their policies and hence, the workers of AAP would go to all 200 constituencies to talk to the people about the same. He mentioned the schemes of Mohalla clinic and free electricity and claimed that the other state parties have started following the same after Sh. Kejriwal brought it to the public and so the general public should vote for the one who actually thinks about such development and authentic ideas.
At the initial stages when AAP had its debut election in Rajasthan in 2018, some movement of MLAs were noticed from BJP to AAP, for example, BJP leader and Kisan Mahapanchayat founder Sh. Rampal Jat, changed sides, declaring that the current ruling party could not fulfill the promises for the farmers and hence he would have his faith in AAP who had brought ample changes for the common public in New Delhi. Amongst the 63 candidates declared by AAP in the 2018 elections, few were : Sh. Giriraj Singh Khangarot (Malpura), National Council member Sh. Sunil Agiwal (Bhilwara), chartered accountant Sh. M.P. Choyal (Ladpura), medico Sh. Bharat Gupta (Malviya Nagar, Jaipur) and activist Sh. Ashok Jain (Anta). Mr. Shastri, a former journalist, will contest the polls from Civil Lines constituency in Jaipur.
However, with the team of candidates AAP could not win seats in the 2018 Polls. Analysts believe that this time the party is sending in the same team that helped them to win in Punjab. The Rajya Sabha member MP of AAP, Sh. Sanjay Singh said that as AAP does not have a face in the party, BJP and Congress candidates with a clean background can enter the party if they wish to. After AAP’s win in Punjab using the Delhi model and Sh. Kejriwal’s welfare politics, the party has emerged as the first regional party to win election in the second state after Delhi and is filling the spaces where Congress is on the decline. The policies of AAP with empowerment of women, better schools and colleges, freebies with water and electricity , better schools and colleges, and employment in the New Delhi model gained a lot of support for Arvind Kejriwal. And with Punjab success, AAP plans on doing the same with Rajasthan, similar to how Modi expanded his Gujrat model to work.
- PALSHIKAR, S., & SURI, K. C. (2014). India’s 2014 Lok Sabha Elections: Critical Shifts in the Long Term, Caution in the Short Term. Economic and Political Weekly, 49(39), 39–49. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24480733
- Politics of Castes in Rajasthan Assembly Election 2013: An Analytical Study of Dausa Constituency, Sita Ram Bairwa, ISSN: 2454-6615.
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