10 Oct 2023

Rajasthen Election-2023: Will Gehlot Create History By Becoming CM For A Fourth Term Or Will Anti-Incumbency Sentiment Prevail?

Jaipur: Can the welfare initiatives introduced by the Ashok Gehlot-led government secure victory for the Congress in the upcoming Rajasthan assembly elections-2023? Alternatively, will the persistent rivalry between Gehlot and Sachin Pilot undermine the party's chances on November 23?

Ashok Gehlot, a three-time Chief Minister, has cultivated a strong connection with the masses, further bolstered by a well-organized outreach program, presenting the party with another opportunity to reclaim power. 

On the other hand despite his marginalization within the state, Sachin Pilot's charisma remains a potent force, particularly among young voters. Pilot enjoys the backing of Gujjars, who are dominant in east Rajasthan and can swing polls.

Gehlot is hoping to create history by becoming CM for a fourth term. Gehlot has been working tirelessly and in the past 5 years has amply displayed his political prowess by derailing competitor Sachin Pilot’s plans to overthrow him..

Govt has implemented an extensive array of welfare programs

The government has implemented an extensive array of welfare programs, including a Rs 25-lakh medical insurance scheme, an urban employment program similar to MGNREGA, subsidized cooking gas cylinders for Ujjwala scheme beneficiaries, distribution of smartphones to women, and a social security allowance.

However, the public feud between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot has been a persistent issue throughout the Congress's term, and the current truce may not be sufficient to mitigate the damage. 

Organizational structure not strong

Additionally, the party's organizational structure could have been more robust, with many state unit office bearers and district presidents appointed as recently as July, leaving them with minimal time to establish themselves before the elections. 

Allegations of corruption

The Congress has struggled to counter allegations of corruption, including those related to leaked documents. The recent claim by a dismissed minister of possessing a "red diary" containing evidence of financial irregularities has further complicated matters.

Nevertheless, the reinstatement of the Old Pension Scheme may provide an advantage to the ruling Congress in Rajasthan, benefiting approximately seven lakh employees and their families.

BJP relying on Modi's appeal

BJP It is relying on public support for PM Narendra Modi. Unlike in the past four assembly polls, this time the party has refrained from projecting Vasundhara Raje as its CM face. The party has been building a momentum against the governing Congress over the law and order situation, corruption, communal flare-ups and women’s security. The RSS, BJP’s ideological parent, has been able to penetrate the rural belts..

Internal divisions within BJP's state unit 

But internal divisions within the BJP's state unit might work in favor of the Congress, especially if supporters of Vasundhara Raje do not actively participate in the BJP's campaign. The Congress could make gains in certain districts by convincing voters that the BJP at the national level is neglecting the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project.

Anti-incumbency sentiment

But anti-incumbency sentiment presents a significant challenge for the ruling Congress in Rajasthan, given the state's recent history of alternating between the BJP and the Congress in each election.

The BJP is likely to highlight instances of communal violence in the state, accusing the state government of favoring Muslims, which could sway public opinion. 

Entry of AIMIM may split the Muslim vote 

The entry of Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM into the Rajasthan political landscape may also split the Muslim vote in some constituencies. Similarly, the newly formed Bhartiya Adivasi party could pose challenges for the Congress in tribal areas.

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