The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday secured a landslide victory in 2013 Rajasthan Assembly polls, winning more than three-fourth of the total 199 seats for which votes were counted.
As per the final tally, the Opposition party stormed back to power with a stellar performance, winning 162 seats - a jump of 84 seats from its 2008 tally. In terms of vote share, the party garnered 14 per cent more votes than it secured last time – again a massive surge.
Anti-incumbency ridden Congress – the ruling party – could manage a meagre 21 seats – a loss of 74 seats from the 2008 numbers. In terms of vote share, it lost the support of its 3 per cent electorate.
Conceding defeat, outgoing Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot blamed the BJP for spreading lies about his government in the run-up to polls. Gehlot underscored the development carried out by his government but rued the fact that the Congress party failed to take the message across to the voters.
"Our campaign was on development, we wanted to develop the state. Our schemes were very good, people will remember us for this. During BJP`s election rallies in Rajasthan, they spread lies about Congress` governance. BJP`s allegations that we made welfare schemes in the last 6 months only for our greed to get votes in the elections are totally baseless," he said.
Vasundhrara Raja, the CM candidate of the BJP, on the other hand thanked the people of Rajasthan for reposing their faith in the BJP.
“We have learnt a lesson that the people are paramount,” the BJP leader said, while also highlighting the Narendra Modi factor in the 2013 state polls – billed as a semi-final to the 2014 national polls.
She had a clear message for the people of Rajasthan – that their belief in good governance will soon turn the dream of a new and developed Rajasthan into reality.
What ailed the Congress government most was anti-incumbency – something which the state has witnessed in almost every election in the past. The two leading parties – BJP and Congress – have been trading benches.
Among other factors that contributed to the Congress rout in Rajasthan were perceived lack of development and bad governance, though party wanted the people to think otherwise.
Corruption haunted the Gehlot administration like most other Congress governments. Critics had accused the state government of masterminding numerous scams, which in turn hampered governance in the state. Even his relatives were alleged to have been involved in the mining scam.
Sex scandals/crimes involving ministers, law and order issues, communal riots further dented the popularity of the Congress government, leading it to a point where the electorate saw no hope in returning it for a second term.
National issues like rising prices too contributed to the surge of the BJP wave in the state. And as highlighted by Raje, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi did act as a force in rallying support behind the party’s bid to reclaim power.
There are anti-incumbencies and then there are ‘super anti-incumbencies’- Gehlot has become the victim of the latter.
The magnitude of Congress defeat can be gauged from the fact that several biggies have lost the polls. Among them are Tourism Minister Bina Kak (Sumerpur), Vidhansabha Speaker Deependra Singh (Srimadhopur), Leela Maderna (Osian) and Health Minister Aimaduddin Ahmad Khan (Tijara).
What possibly also contributed to the Congress rout in the state is that the electorate saw a better leader in Vasundhara Raje, whose five-year rule from 2003 to 2008 was remembered by many for better development track record and good governance compared to Ashok Gehlot, notwithstanding the fact that she lost power in the last elections.
Raje had lost out on a successive term five years back mainly owing to infighting within the party ranks. But this time around, thanks to help from the RSS, the charismatic BJP leader, also called ‘Maharani’ by her supporters, managed to bring the BJP back to power in Rajasthan.
Raje is in the good books of Narendra Modi – BJP’s prime ministerial candidate – and her victory ahead of the General Elections next year augurs well for the main Opposition party.
Also Read: Rajasthan Assembly Elections: Full Results
She had vociferously backed Modi`s bid for the post of BJP’s PM candidate. And with Modi’s rise, the Rajasthan leader has benefitted a lot, politically.