Assembly elections of 2018 can be regarded as semifinals to the Lok Sabha polls of 2019. The election to the state of Rajasthan with a population of 6.89 crores (as per 2011 census) and 200 assembly seats are going to be held somewhere around December 2018 since the tenure of Rajasthan assembly ends on January 20, 2019. Many past trends, caste and religion equation along with the performance of the present government of Vasundhara Raje and the bypoll results 2018 are going to affect the election results. The election will also in a way serve as a litmus test of the popularity of Narendra Modi. Let’s look in detail and try to find out which party will win the Rajasthan Elections 2018?
History of Rajasthan Elections –
The dominance of Congress in Rajasthan was broken by BJP in 1990 under Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who ruled the state till 1998, after that we have seen alternate Congress and BJP government till present. However, this election may result in something different due to Modi effect and BJP’s dominance in the present Indian political scene.
Demographic Trends and caste –
Hinduism is majority religion in the state of Rajasthan with 88.49 % followers. Islam is second most popular religion in the state of Rajasthan with approximately 9.07 % following it. Jats and Meenas are the two powerful communities both comprising about 10% of the population of the state. There has been a history of the struggle between different communities in Rajasthan. In 2009, Meena community has opposed the demand of Gujjar community to be included in the ST category.
There has also been a historic rivalry between the Jat and Rajput communities in which since the early years of years of independence Jats voted for Congress and the Rajputs generally for the opposition fractions. But the decision of Congress to make Asok Gehlot CM in 2008 who belongs to Mali community didn’t get well down among the Jats.
Performance of Vasundhara Raje’s Government –
Rajasthan government had done fairly well in particularly two schemes
1. BHAMASHAH YOJNA –
A scheme for woman empowerment and financial inclusion & BHAMASHAH SWASTHYA BIMA YOJNA for providing medical benefits to around 60% population of the state with the cashless treatment at even private hospitals.
2. JAL SWAVLAMBAN SCHEME-
This scheme is very much successful to the public participation and financial contribution from the public.
But in the recent past, Rajasthan has been in news for hate crimes and politics of polarization. A dairy farmer, Pehlu Khan was lynched by a suspected mob of cow vigilant in the Alwar district. Also, Umar Khan, 35, was found dead near railway tracks at Ramgarh with his family accusing the cow vigilant for the crime. Not only that, in the campaign in the recent bypolls in Alwar, BJP leader Jaswant Yadav told a rally that “If you are a Hindu, vote for the BJP. Muslims will go with the Congress.” Also, a Facebook post by BJP MLA from Alwar on 2 January stated that Muslims are having more children to outnumber Hindus and take over the country. Agrarian discontent will also be a worry for BJP, since the farmer protest of Mandsaur, MP soon spread to Rajasthan as farmers sought higher MSPs and loan waiver. However, the state government in September announced a Rs 60,000 crore farm loan waiver, which may douse some of the anger.
Results of Rajasthan bypolls election 2018 and its implications –
The recent bypoll election for two Lok Sabha seats of Ajmer and Alwar and one assembly seat of Mandalgarh has held this January. This resulted in Congress winning all three seats from the BJP by huge margins. BJP won all these seats by a huge margin in 2013 and 2014 thus clearly indicating a downslide in BJP’s vote share.
A study was done by Leading psephologist Yashwant Deshmukh on trends in the 17 assembly segments where bypolls polls were held shows a horrifying situation for BJP in the assembly polls of 2018. According to him if the trends were to be applied to all 200 assembly seats then there will be a massive Congress sweep. He predicted of Congress winning 140 seats(+119) and BJP winning 53 seats(-109).
Big Faces in Rajasthan Election 2018 –
Vasundhara Raje: Presently CM of Rajasthan, she has gained accolades in the past for improving the economic environment of the state. A report by the World Bank had in 2015 placed Rajasthan in the upper league of ‘aspiring leaders.
But she has faced criticism over:
1. faced criticism for an ordinance, protecting bureaucrats and judges from being scrutinised for any on duty-action, and allegations of backing Lalit Modi.
2. The government’s decision of continuing with a controversial mining lease in the Aravali hills, despite the party’s vociferous criticism of it earlier.
3. She has also faced criticism for failing to contain farm distress
Sachin Pilot: President of Pradesh Congress committee and a youth leader from Rajasthan. He was instrumental in Congress win in the bypolls. Other big faces will be Ashok Gehlot and Gulab Chand Kataria.
Which party will win the Rajasthan Elections 2018?
It will be an interesting fight to watch. BJP has a moral boost after winning elections in Northeast. The Congress Party is not less excited for the assembly election s after there comeback in bhool elections. The assembly elections will be a new opportunity for Rahul Gandhi to proove himself a valuable leader and a reality check for BJP and Modi’s fame.