Friday, 17 August 2018

Rajasthan by-election highlights: Blow for BJP as Congress wins Mandalgarh, Alwar and Ajmer seats

In a massive blow to the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government in Rajasthan that is headed for Assembly elections in a few months, the Congress party has won the Lok Sabha seats in Alwar by over 1.96 lakh votes and the seat in Ajmer by over 84,000 votes. The party won the Mandalgarh assembly seat by nearly 13,000 votes. All three seats were previously held by the Bharatiya Janata Party and elections were necessiated because of the death of the incumbent legislators.

Congress workers celebrate the party’s win

Caste factor appears to have favoured Congress, with Rajput outfits backing the party following the outrage against Padmaavat, and encounters of history-sheeter Chatur Singh and gangster Anandpal. Gujjars, too, were unhappy after both the Bills brought by the government for their reservation were stayed by the High Court.

Another issue was farm distress. In September last year, BJP announced farm loan waiver up to Rs 50,000 after a 13-day farmer agitation in Shekhawati region, but has not acted upon it. Businessmen and traders have also complained that GST and demonetisation hit their businesses.

The results will also mean that voices within BJP may grow louder; rebel BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari Thursday said that “the public has punished the Raje government and the central leadership, rather than removing her, has permitted her government to carry on with its loot for four years.” Raje’s relations with the party’s central leadership will be under closer scrutiny as the central leadership may move to put its house here in order. The candidates were her choice, and the central leadership stayed away from the campaigning.

Moreover, Alwar is adjacent to Haryana, Ajmer in central Rajasthan, while Mandalgarh is near Madhya Pradesh border. So the results also indicate that the voter mood is largely similar across the state, and not just in pockets.

Rajasthan Congress Chief Sachin Pilot on Friday thanked voters of Rajasthan for their support to Congress. Pilot said,” Its emphatic victory that people have registered for Congress. Thankful to people of Rajasthan. Beyond Rajasthan also, these election results will have an impact as Jumlebaazi, politics of division and venom isn’t acceptable.”

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