March 06, 2021
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Verdict 2013

Five Lessons From Rajasthan

Five quick takeaways from BJP's landslide tally of 162 seats, and Congress being reduced to 21

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Five Lessons From Rajasthan
Five Lessons From Rajasthan
  1. The Modi Factor. If there was one state where there was a clear Modi factor behind the BJP's landslide, it was Gujrat's neighbour Rajasthan, as Vasundhara Raje herself confirmed. Without Modi, BJP would have achieved between 90-120 seats. Raje herself said that she was counting on a figure of 120.
  2. Beyond Ashok Gahlot.  The chief minister seemed distinctly unstable during the first four years of his tenure. A year back, when it was quite clear that he was going to lose badly, he was given a free hand. Last minute push for social welfare schemes may have helped the needy, but they didn’t convert into votes, as they were seen as mere populist electoral sops. “What were you doing for the last four years?” was the main question people asked. And then the Congress added to the message of instability by sending back CP Joshi and not giving Gahlot a free hand in ticket-selection.
  3. Lacklustre Campaign. No one, except chief minister Ashok Gahlot, campaigned sincerely for the party in this election. Al though, the central leadership went for some rallies, many big faces from the state in the UPA government -- as ministers or high position holders in the party -- came much later for the campaign in the state. It was left to one man, the sitting chief minister Gehlot, to retain power for the party. As against this, Vasundhara Raje was on the road for nine months campaigning.
  4. Double Anti-Incumbency. Even those favourably disposed towards the chief minister, as against his challenger, had to factor in the strong wave against many MLAs and ministers of the state government. Rajasthan had been a laboratory for many of UPA-1 and UPA-2's social welfare schemes, but clearly either they were not well thought out or there were shortcomings in their implementation. The scam-ridden UPA at the centre, fighting corruption charges and its inability to control inflation, only added to the misery.
  5. Failing the Performance Test. Gehlot failed even by the standards of his own earlier tenure where he had, relatively at least, performed better than this term, though he had been unable to retain power even then, and had yielded it to Vasundhara Raje. His term this time round was noticeably weaker, ineffective and  unstable, with no action against rampant corruption and communal incidents.

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