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Updated: December 9, 2013 01:53 IST
Assembly polls 2013

Landslide for BJP in Rajasthan

Mohammed Iqbal
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Activists celebrated the party’s victory, beating drums and bursting crackers at the party headquarters

Rajasthan Assembly polls 2013

Driving the Congress out of power, the BJP scored a landslide victory in the Rajasthan Assembly elections on Sunday, bagging an unprecedented 162 seats in the 200-member House.

As the results came in, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot drove to the Raj Bhavan in the evening and submitted his resignation to Governor Margaret Alva. She requested him to continue in office until alternative arrangements were made.

BJP State president Vasundhara Raje, who is set to become Chief Minister, was in Banswara to worship in the historic Tripura Sundari temple when the counting began. She went to her constituency of Jhalrapatan, where she defeated Meenakshi Chandrawat of the Congress by 60,896 votes, before flying to Jaipur in the evening.

BJP activists celebrated the party’s victory, beating drums and bursting crackers at the party headquarters on Sardar Patel Marg here. Ms. Raje arrived at the Sanganer airport to a resounding welcome and was taken to the headquarters in a procession.

Ms. Raje attributed the BJP’s victory to the decisive mandate given by the people and said the BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi’s rallies were an “important factor” for the party’s impressive performance. “We have won 82.3 per cent of the seats. This is the victory of people and party workers.”

Hope for Lok Sabha mandate

As party workers kept the chant of “Modi, Modi,” Ms. Raje said the biggest challenge before her was to bring the State out of backwardness. She expressed the hope that the BJP would get a “historic mandate” in the Lok Sabha elections due next year.

The Pradesh Congress Committee headquarters wore a forlorn look. PCC(I) president Chandrabhan, relegated to the fourth position in Mandawa, resigned from the top post, accepting responsibility for the “unexpected defeat.”

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot won Sardarpura in Jodhpur, defeating Shabhu Singh Khetasar of the BJP by 18,478 votes. Most of the Ministers in the Ashok Gehlot government were defeated. They included Shanti Dhariwal (Kota North), Hemaram Chaudhary (Gudhamalani), Aimduddin Ahmed Khan (Tijara), Bina Kak (Sumerpur), Naseem Akhtar Insaaf (Pushkar), Harjiram Burdak (Ladnu), Jitendra Singh (Khetri) and Bharat Singh (Sangod).

Speaker Deependra Shekhawat lost to Jhabar Singh Kharra of the BJP from Srimadhopur and Finance Commission Chairman B.D. Kalla to Gopal Krishan of the BJP in Bikaner West.

“Negative campaign”

Mr. Gehlot accused the BJP of indulging in a “negative campaign” and said the Congress had failed to highlight the development it had carried out in the State. He said Ms. Raje had sought votes in the name of Mr. Modi and tried to create a wave in his favour. “Communal forces marching ahead in this manner is a threat to the nation,” he said.

Speaking to journalists, Mr. Gehlot said the people had voted on the basis of an undercurrent, which could not be countered. “Our welfare schemes provided real benefits to the people. The BJP could not compare the works in its previous rule with our achievements. It [only] created an incorrect impression among the voters.”

The biggest margin of victory was registered by the BJP leader and former Minister, Ghanshyam Tiwari, who trounced Congress candidate Sanjay Bapna in Sanganer by 62,832 votes. The Congress polled 33.68 per cent of the total votes.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which had three members in the Assembly, was wiped out. All 37 candidates it had fielded, including Amra Ram, were defeated. The National People’s Party, floated by Dausa MP Kirorilal Meena, secured four seats.

The election in Churu was countermanded after the death of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Jagdish Meghwal, and polling will take place on December 13.

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