The Congress is set to form the government in Rajasthan. It is a victory for the people’s mandate. There has been a trend to change the state government every five years and that has continued in this election.

Issues of unemployment and farm distress were big among the youth and farmers. This has played out in favour of the Congress. The religious narrative may also not have struck a chord with the voters.

In this election, the Congress has failed to get the kind of lead that was being expected in the run-up to the election. They have not got such a clear mandate and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has managed a decent number of seats. For example, in the previous election the Congress was reduced to less than 30 seats.

The mandate is not as decisive as it is in Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram. In Rajasthan, the vote share of the BJP and Congress is also very similar. However, it is not the same with regard to the number of seats.

In 2013, the BJP came to power with absolute majority but in this election they seem to have lost out on that. The BJP-led government could not meet the expectations of the people in the state. Otherwise the mandate for the party may have been different.

The policy decisions that the government took with regard to the youth and farmers may have had an effect. There seems to have been a lack of vision and the state government has failed to make its achievements known to the common man. The government failed to fulfil the promises that were made when they got such a clear mandate.

It is now important to see how successful former chief minister Vasundhara Raje will be in the opposition.

While one cannot say anything for certain, independents have also played a big role. This time there has been a large number of members who have been elected from smaller parties and as independents who have also influenced the result.

This loss is not so big for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajasthan whose policies still continue to be popular in the state.

In a democracy, it is the people who decide who will come to power but it is the games that happen after the results that matter. People have given in a mandate but who will come to power, who will the chief minister, who will be in the cabinet are all decisions taken by those on top. The public does not have a role in that but it is what will affect the policies of the government. The question will be to see how keen the leadership is to work for the benefit of the people.

Shyam Mohan Agarwal is an associate professor, department of political science at University of Rajasthan, Jaipur

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