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

In Rajasthan, rebels may upset BJP, Cong applecart

Campaigning ends, over 4.74 cr to cast vote tomorrow
In Rajasthan, rebels may upset BJP, Cong applecart
BJP chief Amit Shah during a rally in Ajmer on Wednesday. PTI

Yash Goyal
Jaipur, December 5

Rajasthan, that goes to the polls on December 7 along with the state of Telangana, is headed for an election in which not only caste and religion but rebels too will play a key role. At least 65 rebels in the fray may square the pitch for the ruling BJP as well as the Opposition Congress.

With no perceptible “Modi wave”, the BJP , perhaps, deliberately desisted from slogans such as “achche din”, “sabka vikas, saba ka saath” on its banners and hoarding. Nor did BJP star campaigners — PM Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah, UP CM Adityanath Yogi and Union Ministers — raise the note ban, GST, Rafale, RBI and CBI controversies. Instead, they chose to hit out at the Congress president and the Gandhi dynasty.

 Recognising the massive anti-CM sentiment, the BJP top heads sought votes on the “BJP phir se” slogan. In all, It was a lacklustre affair with leaders addressing either rallies or holding roadshows. With altogether 2,294 contestants from 88 parties in the fray, ground reports suggest that ‘jaati’ (caste) may be a deciding factor in several constituencies.

Not only are the BJP’s seven and Congress’ four defectors putting up a tough fight, but the 35 Congress rebels and 30 of the BJP are likely to eat into the votes of official candidates. The BJP rebels are likely to inflict a greater damage, considering the saffron party this time dropped 56 sitting  MLAs, six of them ministers. The BJP apostates, Ghanshyam Tiwari (Bharat Vahini party) and Hanuman Benwial (Independent MLA), who have joined hands to form Rajasthan Loktantrik Morcha, are giving sleepless nights to the official candidates as they command a huge Brahmin and Rajput vote bank, respectively. Beniwal has been mobilising the Jat youths, upsetting the Congress calculations. Also, five BJP ministers and six sitting MLAs are fighting the party candidates as Independents. 

A desperate Ahmed Patel, MP and AICC leader, reportedly approached Brij Kishore Sharma, son of former Gujarat Governor Nawal Kishore Sharma, and Rajiv Arora, Ashok Gehlot’s confidant, imploring them not to work against the party candidates in Hawa Mahal and Adarsh Nagar seats of Jaipur. 

Observers foresee a neck and neck contest between the BJP and the Congress on 128 seats. On 60-65 seats, the contest is likely to be triangular and on 12 seats a multi-cornered one, they say.

1.25-6% swing can turn tables

  • Statistics show that a 1.25-6% ‘swing’ can turn the tables.  In 2003, the Congress lost 9% votes and was left with 56 seats. The BJP gained 120 seats with 5.97% votes
  • In 2008, the Congress polled 1.26% more votes and won 96 seats with a swing of 3.97% votes in its favour
  • In 2013, the BJP saw a vote swing of 10.93% in its favour, helping it win 163 seats. On the other hand, the Congress was shrunk to 21 seats, losing 3.75%votes
Shah cuts short press meet

BJP chief Amit Shah on Wednesday cut short his interaction with the media in Jaipur abruptly, claiming: “You people are asking manufactured questions”. After a 10-minute speech on the party’s poll assessment, a scribe got up to pose him a question. “Aap ko bolna hai ya nahin... vo pravakta bolenge (The party spokesperson will decide if you are to speak or not)”, he was told. Provoked by a query on the BJP claiming a victory on 180 seats, Shah stood up and left. OC

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