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Business News/ Elections / Assembly Elections/  BJP vs Congress in Rajasthan Election 2023: Why govt has been changing every 5 years; Will it swing this time too?

BJP vs Congress in Rajasthan Election 2023: Why govt has been changing every 5 years; Will it swing this time too?

Rajasthan Election 2023: Anti-incumbency is a consistent factor causing the change of government in Rajasthan every five years. But what is behind this anti-incumbency? And does BJP has a chance to beat the Congress out of power this time? Political experts explain here:

Ashok Gehlot from the Congress and Vasundhara Raje from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (PTI)Premium
Ashok Gehlot from the Congress and Vasundhara Raje from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (PTI)

Since 1998 — that is, in 25 years — no political party has retained power in Rajasthan. Also, since then, the state has seen only two chief ministers — Ashok Gehlot from the Congress and Vasundhara Raje from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). These two held the post alternatively.

Ahead of the Rajasthan Election 2023, state Congress leader Sachin Pilot also raised this factor of "revolving door" in Rajasthan polls and said his party would "break this cycle" as there is a "change of mood" among people in the poll-bound state.

Follow Assembly elections 2023 LIVE Updates here

In an exclusive interview with NDTV, Pilot had said, “We (Congress) haven't won consecutive elections in Rajasthan for 30 years. Why? We need to introspect on this."

This trend — of change in government in Rajasthan every five years — is seen as a factor in favour for the BJP. Many believe that the saffron party might come back to the power, keeping up with the trend.

Does the election trend give an edge to the BJP in this year's Rajasthan Election? But first, let's delve into why there has been this trend of flipping governments in the state:

Political Strategist and Commentator Amitabh Tiwari told Live Mint that one of the major reasons causing the back-to-back change in Rajasthan government is anti-incumbency at local level. Anti-incumbency means that there's opposition to or disapproval of the current political officeholder.

"Overall result is an aggregation of seat results. Now, in Rajasthan, if you analyse elections between 2003 to 2018, out of 612 MLAs who have contested, only 38 per cent won. The BJP's strike rate is 50 per cent and the Congress's strike rate is 25 per cent. This is reflected in overall result. There's high level of local anti-incumbency. MLAs do not perform," Tiwari said while citing a Newslaundry report.

So, why is there anti-incumbency at local level?

One of main factors responsible for anti-incumbency is the lack of industries in Rajasthan, the poll analyst said. He explained that in "industrial states" like Maharashtra, corruption does not impact local people and that it remains the the top level.

ALSO READ: Rajasthan assembly elections 2023: How would BJP, Congress ensure women safety and welfare - explained

However, in land-locked states and in states where industrial production is not much — such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh — people are impact by corruption at the local level.

"When there are no industries...What you do is that you start taking cut from local contracts...and anganwadi workers. The MLA starts corruption in his own Vidhan Sabha (constituency). This raises public anger against them," Tiwari said.

He explained that MLAs need money to spend on election activities and they need to make that money in some way or the other.

He added that the top down approach is definitely "non-performance" of MLAs, but corruption in this scenario adds to a "bottom-up" factor.

He also pointed at some "structural challenges which prevent industrial development" in these states. Due to these "structural challenges, parties "haven't been able to remove local-level corruption".

"The culture of politicians also may be one of the reason" for non-development in assembly constituencies, he added. By culture, he meant the way in which politicians make money in states which are not-so-rich in industrial units. "People spend a lot in elections. They have to recover that money and make that money," the political analyst added.

'People bored of two faces'

Ashok Gehlot and Vansundhara Raje have held the CM post alternatively in Rajasthan, and poll experts say people might have gotten bored of these two face. People of Rajasthan want a new CM face, Tiwari said while citing various opinion results.

Does this mean BJP will be back in Rajasthan?

Not exactly. Azaz Alam, another political analyst, scrutinised different news outlets and opinion polls and said "there are projections that the Congress and the BJP both are claiming victory and crossing the 100 seats margin". However, this prediction will become clearer one they announce their CM faces.

Azaz Alam said the Congress "has more chances to claim the victory for 2023 assembly election, because of Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot as key players in stabilising the party even after having political drama in 2022".

Meanwhile, according to him, "the BJP is trying to keep the party united and maintain the balance among the key leadership i.e. Gulab Chand Kataria, Rajendra Rathore, Om Mathur, Narayan Panchariya, Vasundhara Raje and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat."

However, Amitabh Tiwari was of the opposing view. He said the Congress might lag behind despite announcing various schemes for the poor.

Tiwari said the Congress is "structurally week". He said when the Congress wins, it lacks majority and when it loses, it loses terribly. However, "When BJP loses, it get stuck at 70-75 seats".

He added that while the BJP has a stronghold in two of the five regions (Mewar and Hadoti) in Rajasthan, while the Congress has none of these regions as its stronghold.

Tiwari added that Gehlot has taken lessons from all three states — Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Punjab — on how to break this trend of "revolving door".

He said Gehlot has launched many schemes, following the Amma model (in Tamil Nadu); he focused on extensive campaign and publicity, following Pinarayi Vijayan's strategy in Kerala; and has targeted the BJP over factionalism by taking cues from Punjab where the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had broken ties with the BJP.

Despite all these, Tiwari said there are no cash-transfers in the scheme launched by Gehlot; and that there lies a difference between people getting enrolled in a scheme and them becoming a beneficiary eventually. "The impact of these schemes is not directly on the public," Tiwari added. And hence, he thought the Congress might lose the 2023 elections.

However, the suspense of who will win the 2023 Rajasthan Assembly Elections will be over once the poll results are declared on December 23. Of the total 200 assembly seats, 199 seats will go to polls on Saturday, November 25.

A look at past elections:


YearPartySeatsVote share

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Published: 24 Nov 2023, 07:17 PM IST
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