Rajasthan election result: Litmus test for BJP, Congress in swing state ahead of 2019, results out tomorrow

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New Delhi | Updated: December 10, 2018 12:13:25 PM

Rajasthan election result: Rajasthan has been a swing state -- it has not voted the incumbent government to power since 1993 -- and results comes just comes months ahead of Lok Sabha polls, any outcome has a bearing on national politics.

Rajasthan election result: Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi

Rajasthan election result: All eyes are on Rajasthan Assembly elections results which will be announced on December 11 for 200 seats. It will be the litmus test for both Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress to weigh their popularity and acceptability among the electorate before the ultimate 2019 Lok Sabha polls test. The state, which is located in the north-western part of India, is considered a “swing-state” just like Kerala. This time, Rajasthan is witnessing a battle between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah on one side and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on the other. At the state leadership level, this poll will test the mettle of incumbent Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Congress’ CM probables Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot.

The state, which is dominated by several castes, is an ideal case-study for psephologists where caste arithmetic, fielding the right candidates and lessons learnt from the last elections come in handy for political parties.

READ Also: Assembly Elections Exit Poll 2018 Results 

Rajasthan has been a swing state — it has not voted the incumbent government to power since 1993, and the trend might continue with several exit polls predicting a win for the Congress.  CVoter-Republic TV predicts 52-68 seats for the BJP and 129-145 seats for the Congress. According to CNX-Times Now, the saffron party is projected to win 85 seats, while Congress 105 seats. CSDS – ABP has predicted 83 seats for the BJP and 101 seats for the Congress.

Previous Lok Sabha and assembly poll results

In the 2013 assembly polls, BJP won a staggering 163 out of 200 seats and secured a mammoth 45 per cent vote share. Congress, on the other hand, got a paltry 21 seats with 33 per cent vote share while others bagged 16 seats and 22 per cent vote share. A few months later, the 2014 Lok Sabha polls saw BJP sweep the state by winning 25 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats and an astonishing 56 per cent vote share. Though Congress drew a blank in the seat column, it registered a 31 per cent vote share.

In the 2008 Assembly polls, Congress managed to defeat the incumbent BJP by gaining 96 seats and 37 per cent vote share. BJP had got 78 seats and 34 per cent vote share. Others had 26 assembly seats and 29 per cent vote share. In 2009 Lok Sabha, Congress clocked a landslide victory by grabbing 20 Lok Sabha seats and 47 per cent vote share, while BJP got a mere four seats with 37 per cent vote share. In the 2003 assembly polls, BJP got 120 seats as opposed to Congress’ 56.

Congress performed its best in 1998 when it had won 153 seats out of 200. This was the second time that a party won 150 seats or more in Rajasthan after Janata Party achieved the feat in 1977. Congress also got a two-thirds majority in 1972 and 1980 assembly polls.

Caste equation

Rajasthan has a plethora of castes and each one of them plays a pivotal role in shaping the mandate. In terms of demographics, Scheduled Castes form 18 per cent of Rajasthan’s total population. Jats and Scheduled Tribes form 15 and 13 per cent respectively of the state’s population. Other castes like Brahmins, Meenas, Rajputs and Gurjars represent 13, 10, 8 and 6 per cent of state’s population. Muslims form 9 per cent of Rajasthan’s population.

Both BJP and Congress have been playing their cards carefully knowing that a change of allegiance from these castes can change their fortunes. While the BJP enjoyed the backing from the upper castes, Gurjar, Rajputs and Jats in 2013 Assembly polls and 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Congress had voter base among SC, ST, Meena and Muslim in 2013 and 2014.

Issues in Rajasthan Assembly polls

According to reports, unemployment, agrarian distress and anti-incumbency are the major issues that could determine the poll outcome. Congress launched a scathing attack on the Raje government alleging that liquor, land and sand mafia enjoyed backing from the ruling party. There were reports that Raje had a disconnect with the masses and the central leadership of BJP was not with her. However, last month, Raje and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley cleared the air during the launch of the party’s manifesto.

BJP has countered this narrative alleging that Congress is a divided house and this will help it retain power. While Congress is banking big on its Pradesh Committee President Sachin Pilot, former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who is Rahul Gandhi’s close confidante is also in the fray for the CM’s post.

What surveys predict

ABP News-C Voter, Graphnile, India TV-CNX, Times Now and News Nation have predicted a comfortable win for Congress. However, these opinion polls were conducted in November. Things do change quickly in Rajasthan and BJP is hoping that rallies held by PM Modi will convince voters to vote for it.

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