Rajasthan Lok Sabha Election 2019: The BJP will try to take advantage of the tough stand taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against Pakistan in the border state which is home to a large number of serving and retired military personnel.
Lok Sabha Election in Rajasthan: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is looking to reverse the losses suffered by his party in the border state of Rajasthan in 2018 assembly election. With its 25 seats, Rajasthan is crucial for any party hoping to form the government at the Centre. BJP had won all 25 seats in 2014, however, it suffered a massive defeat in a direct contest with the Congress in the assembly elections held four years later.
BJP is banking on the charisma of Prime Minister Modi as he adopted a muscular approach towards arch rival Pakistan following a suicide car bomb attack on a security convoy in Pulwama, Kashmir in February this year.
The border state is home to India’s two marshal races Rajputs and Jats who join armed forces in large numbers. BJP is counting on the tough approach adopted by the Modi government against Pakistan to win over the support of these two influential groups in the state.
1. What went wrong with the BJP in Rajasthan
There was widespread anger against then BJP chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s style of functioning. She was also not seen accessible by her own party colleagues, including senior leaders.
It was popular anger against Vasundhara Raje that was responsible for the BJP’s defeat which had given all 25 seats to the party in 2014 Lok Sabha election.
2. BJP’s vote share was almost equal to that of Congress in 2018
The party has reasons to be hopeful in the tourism driven state as despite massive loss of 90 seats in 2018 Rajasthan assembly election, the party’s popular vote share declined only by 6% between 2014 Lok Sabha election and 2018 Vidhan Sabha election in Rajasthan.
Moreover, the number of popular votes bagged by the BJP was almost equal to that of the Congress. While Congress bagged little over 1.39 (39.3%) crore popular votes, BJP was a close second with more than 1.37 (38.5) crore popular votes, a marginal difference of just half a percent popular votes. However, it was enough to give Congress 100 seats in 200 member house, a gain of 79 seats. A statewide difference of mere 1.77 lakh vote was enough to bring down the BJP’s seat tally from 163 in 2013 Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha election to just 73 seats in 2018, a loss of 90 seats.
3. Why BJP could stage a comeback in Rajasthan
There was a swell in nationalistic sentiments across the country following the tough stand adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against Pakistan following the dastardly terror attack in Pulwama, Kashmir that killed 40 CRPF Jawans.
The country was baying for the blood of the perpetrators when the government announced that Indian Air Force had carried out a preemptive air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammad’s terror camp in Balakot, Pakistan. Masood Azhar led group had claimed responsibility for the audacious suicide car bomb attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14 this year.
The subsequent events and international support for India also enhanced Prime Minister Modi’s image as a strong and decisive leader. The BJP is trying to capitalise on the swell in nationalistic sentiments in the border state which is home to large number of serving and retired servicemen.
It’s important for any party to maintain a tough posture against Pakistan in the border state as it has historically been at the forefront of wars against the invaders and raiders.
The BJP has also blamed the Congress of proposing to dilute the provisions of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in its manifesto. It’s a sensitive issue for the personnel of Indian military and paramilitary forces as the law is considered crucial for their protection while serving in insurgency hit states like Jammu & Kashmir.
The voting in the state will take place in Rajasthan in two phases – fifth and sixth phase on April 29 and May 6. Thirteen seats will go to poll on April 29 in the 4th phase and voting in the remaining 12 seats will take place on May 6.