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Rajasthan Polls: PM Narendra Modi’s campaign gives BJP respect in defeat

PM visited Sumerpur in Pali on the last day of campaigning and BJP won all 4 seats there.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 12, 2018, 04.52 AM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at the beneficiaries of various welfare schemes of the BJP government during at a function in Jaipur. Vasundhara Raje and Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore are also seen.
JAIPUR: Rajasthan saw a change of guard as most pollsters had predicted, albeit with the incumbent BJP faring better than most forecasts. The Congress had claimed that along with its allies it would make a clean sweep, but eventually it managed to just sneak past the majority mark. Analysts said the expectations of the BJP being hobbled by massive anti-incumbency notwithstanding, the party appeared to have recovered well enough in the last one month before polling to exit with a respectable defeat. “In the last leg of the campaign, the

PM pulled out all the stops to woo voters. His aggressive campaigning paid off and the BJP, which was looking as if it would be restricted to 50 seats, crossed the 70 mark,” said Rakesh Singh Sinsinwar, a political analyst.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Sumerpur in Pali district on the last day of campaigning and BJP won all four seats from Pali.

Congress gave five seats to its allies to contest – two seats each to Ajit Singh’s RLD and Sharad Yadav’s LJD and one seat to Sharad Pawar’s NCP. Barring Bharatpur, where RLD’s Subhash Garg registered victory, Congress’ allies lost badly.

“The tally could have gone up had Congress fielded its own candidates. Congress should have got into alliance with BSP, which had fielded candidates in 197 seats. BSP won a few (six seats) but damaged prospects of Congress candidates,” said Ram Pratap Bidhuri, a political analyst.

With anti-incumbency and anger against chief minister Vasundhara Raje seen as the main reasons behind the BJP’s debacle, analysts said that the verdict did not show any undercurrent or any wave in favour of the Congress.

“Had there been a pro-Congress wave, its tally would have crossed 150. There was a massive anti-incumbency against Raje. But the BJP recovered in the last leg, thanks to the PM’s rallies in the state. The vote swing of around 4% won the BJP at least 10-12 seats,” said Rameshwar Dadhich, a political analyst.

Congress rebels Babu Lal Nagar, Mahadeo Singh Khandela, Laxman Meena, Ramkesh Meena, Ramoli Khadija, Alok Beniwal and Sanyam Lodha won, among other rebels, reflecting wrong ticket distribution in the party. However, these rebels are likely to join the party post-victory. “We are open to taking them in the government,” said senior Congress leader and former CM Ashok Gehlot.

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