As the campaign lacks a central theme, the outcome is likely to depend on which party has curbed infighting better, distributed tickets intelligently and worked out the caste arithmetic systematically. In this, the BJP state leadership under Vasundhararaje seems to have committed more mistakes than its rival.
This time the BJP was banking on the Jats who comprise about 15 per cent of the electorate. The party's support for the movement for reservation that the Jats launched in the late '90s is expected to pay off. The Jats had all along been with the Congress. But Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee effectively weaned the community away from the Congress by announcing reservation for them at a public rally in 1998, a little after the Jats had overwhelmingly voted the latter in the assembly polls. So, little wonder the BJP bagged 16 of the 24 seats in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls.