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Rajasthan civic polls: Long way ahead for Congress, but warning signals for BJP

The civic body polls come soon after the Lalit Modi storm that had embroiled Raje and son Dushyant and the BJP had expected to fare far worse.

Written by Sweta Dutta |
August 21, 2015 1:21:29 pm
Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani leaves after meeting with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President, Amit Shah in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI Photo) Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje (PTI Photo)

Even as the state unit of the BJP brazens out the civic body poll results on Thursday, the ignominious defeat of the party in the home constituencies of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her son MP Dushyant Singh has left the party’s core team in a sweat.

Raje has not only lost Jhalawar and Jhalrapatan, constituencies represented by her and Dushyant but also Dholpur, her home ground where the Congress had attacked her for illegally occupying the royal palace as it allegedly belonged to the state government.

The civic body polls come soon after the Lalit Modi storm that had embroiled Raje and son Dushyant and the BJP had expected to fare far worse. So when the ruling party maintained its position in 62 bodies, it went to town flaunting its lead and attributed it to Raje’s good governance.


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But sample this: in 2010 when 3,094 civic bodies went to the polls and the Ashok Gehlot government was in power, Congress secured 36.3 per cent voteshare while BJP got 36.8 per cent despite being out of power. The figures today (as 3,351 civic bodies polled) stand at 34 per cent for Congress and 37 per cent for BJP. Note that the Congress faced a crushing defeat only last year and does not have a single MP in the state.

Moreover, the urban electorate has traditionally been pro-BJP and with the party in power, it is no surprise that BJP should retain or even better its score. The BJP ideally should have marked a much higher haul had its claims of good governance been true.

Out of the 15 nagar parishads that have a sizeable population of over a lakh each, 10 went to the Congress, 3 to BJP and the parties tied on two. Not an encouraging scorecard for the party.

During the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP secured 55 per cent vote share while Congress was at 30 per cent. The tally for the opposition Congress went up to 44 per cent during the panchayat polls in January this year while BJP then secured 45 per cent.

That is not to discount that the Congress has traditionally received rural support. The difference in the vote share, however, was a margin one per cent. This has now gone up with BJP securing 37 per cent and Congress 34 per cent but again the urban bodies have been BJP’s stronghold.

The Congress that had made tall claims of sweeping the polls still has a long way to go. The BJP, however, must see the early signs of dissent and stop living in denial.

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