In the Rajasthan Assembly elections held on December 7, the Congress party won 99 out of the 199 seats limiting BJP to 73 seats. Although this comes as a slight deviation from all exit polls which predicted a clean sweep by the old party, it did trigger a debate on various factors which led to the ruling BJP tumbling to its position in the desert State.
The State also recorded a dip in the polling percentage to 74.21 per cent from 75.67 per cent recorded in the Assembly elections 2013. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) got 6 seats, CPI(M) 2 seats, Independents 13 while others got 6 seats out of the 199 seats that went to polls.
According to information from poll officer, “A total of 1,39,35,201 votes went into Congress kitty in Rajasthan, while BJP received 1,37,57,502 votes indicating that the ruling BJP lost the elections with a marginal difference of over 1.70 lakh votes.”
Even the party-wise vote share declared by the Election Commission confirms that Congress received 39.3 per cent votes while BJP garnered 38.8 per cent votes. A slight difference of .50 per cent of votes led to the defeat of the BJP in Rajasthan, confirmed poll officials.
NOTA emerged as a major factor in BJP’s loss as its received 4,67,781 lakh votes contributing to 1.3 per cent of voting. There were many seats in Rajasthan where NOTA garnered higher votes than the winning margin of the candidates. In fact, Congress candidate Saleh Mohammad in Pokhran defeated his BJP rival Mahant Pratap Puri by 872 votes. The NOTA garnered 1121 votes here.
Sources said that a rumour spread by other caste people that SC/ST people are not allowed to enter the math was yet another reason for the renowned Mahant for losing the elections. The None Of The Above – NOTA- option has clearly marked a dent on the prospects of BJP liming it in its final tally.
The other factor was the poor performance of the ministers which came to fore with around 20 senior ministers losing the polls in the State. The party performed badly in Shekhawati region too. In last few years, the Shekhawati region has been a witness to very little development. Bad roads continue to trouble the masses. Unemployment or lack of employment is widespread in the state. However, none of the leaders bothered to visit us or lend an ear to our problems, said a local resident, Hanuman Singh.
In this belt comprising Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu, BJP retained the same old faces who failed to perform to their due duties. “Giving tickets to them without any change proved disastrous for the party”, said a BJP leader on condition of anonymity. “Earlier, there were talks doing the rounds to remove incumbent leaders which also included State ministers. However, the State leadership refused to lend its ears to the party workers’ suggestion which brought about BJP’s defeat, he confirmed.
The extent of public displeasure can be gauged from the fact that twenty ministers toppled in the tally contributed to a major loss to the party, he added. Similarly, caste equations also played a strong role where SC/ST communities and Muslims joined forces to keep the BJP stay away from power.
In Alwar, BJP’s tally was reduced to two seats - Alwar (Urban) and Mundawar - out of the ten seats here. In remaining constituencies, Congress grabbed four seats, while BSP got two seats. The other two went to Independents. Basically, in this area there is a consolidation of the SC, ST and Muslim vote as this region along with Mewat, houses a huge population of Meo Muslims. This alliance worked against BJP.
In the adjoining Bharatpur, BJP couldn’t win a single seat. Again the reason for its failure in this district is poor performance of its leaders on grounds and return of same old faces despite the leadership being aware of the lackadaisical approach of its ministers.
The party fared worse in this district as it returned a nil, from its five assembly seats in 2013 elections out of 6. The SC and ST votes were garnered by Nadbai BSP candiddate. Similarly, in Nagar, the BSP candidate Wajib Ali garnered Muslim, Jat and Dalit votes, which left BJP to a third position. The overconfident BJP leaders in other seats including Bayana, Deeg, Bharatpur, Kaman and Weir also lost due to arrogance of its leaders who worked little sitting with hands folded expecting for a ‘Modi Magic’ to sail them through, said Bharat Mittal, a local from Bharatpur. In Tonk, out of four seats, BJP managed one seat in Malpura. In Nagaur too, BJP was reduced to two seats – Makrana and Nagaur.
There was a new entrant in the Meena belt of Rajasthan, called Bhartiya Tribal Party in Dungarpur, which captured two seats in the state. Inspired by Urban Naxalites, this party of tribals wanted to secure tribals’ rights in the state.
Even Karauli, Sapotra and Todabhim, also called as Meena seats, went to the Congress as Meena community leader Dr Kirorilal Meena did not give his full support, said one of the community member. The BSP meanwhile managed six seats which included Karauli, Udaipurwati, Nadbai, Nagar, Kishangarh bas and Tijara. Independents also played spoilsport in the defeat of BJP as they received 9.5 per cent of votes which amounted to 33,72,206.
The state leadership also failed to install confidence among its party workers and win their trust. Eventually, the party worker remained demoralised, said another party worker. Had new faces been introduced, and tickets given to capable candidates and all actions of party workers were monitored by senior leaders, the party would definitely have created history in the State.
Now, in Lok Sabha elections, the public wants to see capable, dynamic and smart leaders who can work for public. Is the party listening? Asked this party worker without mentioning his name.