Rajasthan 2018

Rajasthan Assembly elections 2018: State bereft of dominant poll narrative

Training day: Officials show the functioning of EVMs and VVPAT machines in Bikaner.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Rajasthan has a record of voting out the incumbent government in every election, but voices on the ground this time suggest no “wave” either way. Pollsters and the Satta (betting) market still sense a return of the Congress, however.

The betting market in the Shekhawati region gave the Congress 127 seats out of 200 on Sunday night, with the BJP tally at 56, up from 48 days ago. The betting market, in other words, is also seeing some signs of a slight BJP rebound.

Travels here suggest that public opinion is divided between the two parties. There is no larger, binding, narrative and people are surer of their voting choices in a constituency than the final outcome in the State. The contest may, thus, turn out to be more about which way constituencies swing. And added to this mix is the presence of BJP rebels Ghanshyam Tiwari and Hanuman Beniwal — their parties now in alliance — in some pockets, making the contest keener on some seats.

A businessman from Sanganer does relate his Goods and Services Tax ‘woes’ and farmers in Rasoolpuri village near Tonk also complain of rising diesel prices, water availability only at night and the need for Aadhaar verification for a host of services. But these are not the dominant poll narrative yet.

Clearly, the rationale for constituency-wise political choices swings seamlessly from “development” to “identity”, depending on the candidates in fray.

The only pattern one can discern is a distinct Rajput unease with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, though members of the community make it a point to emphasise they have been BJP supporters and intend to vote for Narendra Modi in 2019.

The paradox is this: change may well be in the air given the State’s past record, but Prime Minister Modi still remains popular in a State where being Hindu is a default identity for many. The refrain is that the Congress did start with a distinct edge but somehow bungled up in ticket distribution. Unlike Madhya Pradesh, there is no farmers' discourse in Rajasthan. Rural life here is not synonymous with farming, given the terrain.

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 3:08:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/rajasthan-assembly-elections-2018/rajasthan-assembly-elections-2018-state-bereft-of-dominant-poll-narrative/article25656129.ece

Next Story