Congress win in state elections is pointing to an interesting contest in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It suggests that 2019 General Elections might end in a photo-finish and the BJP is facing a serious fight from the opposition camp.
Assembly elections results for Rajasthan, a swing state, have indicated a clear win for the Congress Party. The oscillating political pendulum followed its momentum and swinged towards the grand old party this time, a trend for three decades now. Since 1998, both Ashok Gehlot of Congress and Vasundhara Raje of the Bharatiya Janata Party have alternatively taken the chief ministership twice. But 2018’s assembly election result has thrown up some interesting numbers which on further micro-analysis are giving an interesting angle. This is throwing light on reasons behind the win or loss of the two big political outfits.
Congress fails to encash ‘massive anti-incumbency’
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Bharatiya Janata Party CM Vasundhara Raje faced a stiff challenge of bucking the trend of winning and losing every alternative election in the desert state but her government, as per opinion polls, was facing a massive anti-incumbency. She was touted as an unpopular chief minister and Congress leader Sachin Pilot described her style of governance as ‘arrogant’. Given the trends, Rajasthan, in popular electoral terms, was a lamp-post election but Congress failed to capitalise on it. At the time of writing this copy, Congress was expected to win 103 assembly seats, just 3 seats over the halfway mark. BJP was leading in 70 seats.
In terms of vote percentage as well, there was not much to choose between the two parties. Congress at 39.1% was fractionally ahead of its rival BJP which is expected to win 38.6% votes as per Election Commission of India’s data. In 2013 though, BJP won 163 seats and 45.2% votes crushing the Congress which managed just 21 seats and 33.1% votes.
Congress storms into BJP fortress as urban voters ditch saffron party
Financial Express Online picked 20 key assembly segments, 18 urban seats and two seats which are known for industries, in Rajasthan. These seats are Adarsh Nagar, Amber, Civil Lines, Hawa Mahal, Jhotwara, Kishanpole, Malviya Nagar and Vidhyadhar Nagar from Jaipur, and Jodhpur City, Udaipur City, Kota North, Kota South, Bikaner East, Bikaner West, Ajmer North, Ajmer South, Alwar Urban, Bharatpur, Beawar and Kishangarh. In 2013 Rajasthan Assembly Elections Bharatiya Janata Party won a whopping 19 of these urban/industrial seats while Congress drew a blank as NPP won the remaining single seat. In 2018 though, the Congress has stormed into the BJP citadel leading/winning 10 of these seats, while others are leading/winning in two. The BJP is ahead in just 8 of these seats, which is a massive drop of 11 seats.
This development points to the fact that apart from probable agrarian distress, the BJP has also faced the wrath of urban middle class and small and medium businessmen. Could it be GST, taxes or inflation? It is anybody’s guess but this clearly indicates that the urban middle class, BJP perceived core vote bank, has shifted away from the saffron party and it is not a good sign for PM Modi ahead of 2019 General Elections.
Congress getting more bargaining power bad news for opposition unity
Congress win in state elections is pointing to an interesting contest in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It suggests that 2019 General Elections might end in a photo-finish and the BJP is facing a serious fight from the opposition camp. The results have also given boost to the political weight of the Congress President Rahul Gandhi who can now use these results to bargain more in case of a grand opposition alliance in 2019. Though, Congress wielding its power will hamper the unity within the proposed grand-alliance. Either way, the game for 2019 is on.