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Posted at: Dec 6, 2018, 1:27 AM; last updated: Dec 6, 2018, 1:27 AM (IST)

BJP banks on Modi, Cong on past trend

Voters in dilemma over leadership, close fight likely in Rajasthan

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
Jaipur, December 5

The high-decibel campaign in Rajasthan came to an end on Wednesday with the ruling BJP pinning its hopes on PM Narendra Modi’s appeal and the opposition Congress banking on the past trend of alternate governments.

A confident PM wrapped up the saffron game with an aggressive anti-Gandhi pitch in Pali district. Tearing into the Nehru-Gandhi family in his concluding remarks, he said the Gandhis must answer for “four generations of misrule in India” before seeking an account of his four-year rule. The PM repeatedly compared his humble background to “naamdaar” Rahul Gandhi’s rich moorings. 

“I was not born with a silver spoon like naamdaar was. I’ve seen poverty,” he told the people at Pali, also taking up the SC order on Gandhis’ tax assessment. His comment that “the news that should have made headlines was buried in the corners of papers”, was applauded by crowds hysterically.

BJP chief Amit Shah too was in Jaipur on the last day of the campaign with the Congress fort being held by former CM Ashok Gehlot and state chief Sachin Pilot. With a day left for voting, the people looked confused whether or not to vote for “change.” The state has voted out a government every five years since 1998.

Another dilemma for the voters is that of leadership. “The problem with the Congress is there’s no clear leader. The problem with the BJP is the leader,” Surender Sharma, a Jaipur resident observed, referring to CM Vasundhara Raje’s lack of popularity.

Equally, there’s a strong support for PM Modi across large swathes of Rajasthan. Even Congress supporters say they would vote for Modi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but the Congress in Rajasthan.

“We will vote for the PM in the Lok Sabha polls but for the Congress in the state,” Sikander Gujjar, a Tonk resident, said emphatically.

Infighting has pulled down the Congress graph in the last few days. The party was unable to launch high- profile campaigners for canvassing. As former bureaucrat Rajendra Bhanawat said: “The BJP launched all its big faces and central leaders in the last leg of the campaign.  including the PM, Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The Congress had only Rahul Gandhi. The BJP does seem to have recovered in the last few days. Aggressive campaigning by the PM and Shah has made this election too close to call. The game is open.”

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