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Business News/ Elections / Congress vs BJP: The long-standing and only rivalry in Rajasthan Assembly Elections
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Congress vs BJP: The long-standing and only rivalry in Rajasthan Assembly Elections

Elections in Rajasthan are straight fights between the Congress and BJP, which have been dominated by Gehlot and Vasundhara Raje respectively.

Rajasthan Assembly Polls: Polling staff collect polling materials on the eve of Rajasthan Assembly elections, at a distribution center in Bikaner on Friday (ANI)Premium
Rajasthan Assembly Polls: Polling staff collect polling materials on the eve of Rajasthan Assembly elections, at a distribution center in Bikaner on Friday (ANI)

Rajasthan Assembly Polls: The largest state in India has never been ruled by any party other than Congress or the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The state has had three chief ministers in the past thirty three years. From after Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's return in 1993, the seat of power in Rajasthan has only alternated between BJP, and Congress- Ashok Gehlot and Vasundhara Raje. 

While Raje seemed to have been sidelined by the saffron party during their campaigns ahead of the crucial Rajasthan Assembly Elections, Gehlot remained a highlight and integral party of the Congress campaign for the Rajasthan Assembly Elections 2023. 

The state goes to vote tomorrow, 25 November, to elect representatives for the 200-member Rajasthan legislative Assembly

Notably, Rajasthan government poll has never seen a hung assembly, or a coalition government. Famous in the list of anti-incumbency, Rajasthan residents have always managed to granted either Congress or BJP a narrow but clear majority. 

According to available data, Rajasthan's elected governments were dismissed thrice by central governments. In 1977, the Morarji Desai government dismissed Haridev Joshi’s Congress government in Rajasthan, and Shekhawat was sacked twice — by Indira Gandhi in 1980, and P V Narasimha Rao in 1992 after the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Rajasthan over the years have also witnessed close polls and sweeping victories. 

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In the column for close poll victories are the following: 

-In 1962, the Congress won 88 seats in the 176-member House;

-In 1967, amid the anti-Congress wave, it won 89 seats out of 184.

-In 1990, the BJP and V P Singh’s Janata Dal had an alliance — the BJP won 85 seats out of 200, and formed the government with support from the Janata Dal’s 55 MLAs. 

-In 1993, the BJP won 95, and reached close to a majority. 

-In 2008 and 2018, the Congress won 96 and 100 seats respectively in the 200-member Assembly.

In the column for sweeping vixtories are the following

-The Congress won clear majorities in 1972 (when it swept 145 of 184 seats), 1980 (133 of 200), and 1985 (113 of 200)

-The Janata Party won clear majority in 1977 (152 out of 200 seats)

-In 1998 the Congress won 153 out of 200.

Ashok Gehlot vs Vasundhara Raje

Elections in Rajasthan are straight fights between the Congress and BJP, which have been dominated by Gehlot and Vasundhara Raje respectively, alternating CMs since 1998. 

Gehlot has been the face of his party in the state, and no rival apart from Sachin Pilot in the last few years has succeeded in weakening him. The longest-serving Chief Minister of Rajasthan has been Sukhadia of the Congress, who served for more than 16 years and 6 months, followed by Gehlot, who is approaching the end of three full terms in power.

Vasundhara, who assumed office in 2003 with the blessings of then Vice President Shekhawat and the late Pramod Mahajan, remains the tallest leader of the BJP in the state, even though she has been systematically sidelined over the last five years.

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Published: 24 Nov 2023, 06:15 PM IST
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