Vasundhara Raje: Bad Governance Main Reason for All Problemsby Opinion Express October 24, 2018 0 comments
Most of the compounded problems that Vasundhara Raje is facing is an accumulation of bad governance, failing to deliver accurate caste calculations, strong anti-incumbency, constant internal bickering.
Among the three BJP-ruled States going to polls in November-December, all eyes are on Rajasthan as it seems to be the most vulnerable than the other two — Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — for the BJP. The Congress is upbeat with pre-poll surveys predicting a win for the party in this State where it has not returned to power for two decades and more. In the last eight bye-elections, the Congress, which was reduced to 21 seats in 2013, was able to win six bye-polls, including two Assemblies and one Parliamentary election this year. While the grand old party’s morale is up after its recent wins, it has to guard against any internal sabotage and get more funds.
The ABP News-CVoter has given the Congress almost 50 per cent of the vote share and 142 and 124-138 seats respectively to the two parties in the 200-member Assembly. However, a minor swing can turn the tide in favour of either.
There are two main chief ministerial aspirants for the Congress. PCC president Sachin Pilot has the blessings of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Former Chief Minister Ashok Ghelot is the other serious contender. The five-time Lok Sabha member and two times Chief Minister is looking for a third chance; though the party high command has not projected any chief ministerial candidate, fearing sabotage.
The BJP has no such problem, as Vasundhara Raje is the chief ministerial candidate despite a decline in her popularity. She has been working hard in the past few months to recover lost position. Since the polls are scheduled on December 7, the last among the Assembly polls, the BJP proposes to field its top leaders in the final stages and is also hopeful that the Modi magic will work in the State.
While the BJP might still win the State, there are problems. First, there is an anti- Vasunhdara wave. Raje is facing more anti incumbency compared to the other two BJP Chief Ministers. It is a double whammy as the party is ruling both at the Centre and the State. Even workers and BJP leaders are upset with Raje’s style of functioning. She is trying to change this perception.
Second, there is no Opposition unity as the State is facing a multi-cornered contest unlike earlier when it was a direct fight between the BJP and the Congress. Opposition votes might split with the emergence of a Third Front. Seven parties, including the Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India, Janata Dal (Secular), Rashtirya Lok Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation and Communist Party of India (Marxist) have come together to form Loktantrik morcha. The Bahujan Samaj Party is planning to contest solo in all the 200 seats. All these could cut into the BJP and the Congress votes.
Third, the Congress is not as weak as compared to Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. It can win comfortably if it plays its cards well. After all, difference in vote share is just about two per cent. That is why a minor swing can upset their poll calculations.
Fourth, caste factor will play a crucial role. While negotiating caste equations, Raje is in a more difficult position. Traditionally, the BJP has the backing of Rajputs, Gujjzars and Brahmins. The Congress has the backing of Jats, Muslims, SC, ST and Meenas. This is changing. rAJE faces a formidable challenge in retaining votes of Rajputs and Gujjars, two of the BJP’s core supporters. This can upset Raje’s plans. Gujjars are disenchanted with the BJP for not providing five per cent reservation in Government jobs and universities and have edged over to the Congress.
The BJP has now turned to Meenas, their archrivals. The Jats, the most influential community, both in terms of numbers and presence in the Assembly, have long been Congress supporters.
Fifth, Raje’s woes have increased on account of the farmer’s agitation, the High Court stay on Gujjar reservation Bill, and an Ordinance prohibiting probe against public servants without sanction, cow vigilantism and the recent Padmavat controversy. She has suspended some welfare schemes like free medicine, started by her predecessor. Doctors, teachers and trading community are unhappy with her rule. However, it is not all bad news, as some of her schemes like Bhamashah Yojana and Jal swavlamban are successful.
Sixth, farmers are at the centre-stage of this election. Both parties are trying to woo this community, which forms 70 per cent of the electorate. To pacify them, Raje has recently announced complete loan waiver for 12,000 farmers. Finally, a proper ticket distribution might contain the internal sabotage.
It is clear that a win in Rajasthan will set the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. Losing a State in the Hindi heartland will be a loss of face for the BJP. But still, it is ready to face it if it can win the other two States and also Mizoram in the North-East. For the Congress, any improvement is good news. Will Raje somehow manage to win the State in spite of all these? It is a question mark and it depends on Dame Luck.
(The writer is a senior political commentator and syndicated columnist
Writer: Kalyani Shankar
Courtesy: The Pioneer