Congress sweeps Rajasthan in by-polls, BJP concedes defeat

Marie Harrington
February 6, 2018

BJP won the last assembly polls in the state three-forth majority. The Trinamool Congress also won the "Noapara" Assembly constituency while the BJP's candidate suffered defeat by a margin of over 60,000 votes.

In a major turnaround, Congress has convincingly won the Mandalgarh Assembly seat after initially trailing at the second spot in Rajasthan bye-elections.

His tweet read, "Well done Rajasthan Congress!"

The outcome will have implications for the morale and internal power equations in both parties. Implementation is most important and therefore a mismatch between a feasible proposal and its logical conclusion can only lead to a loss of credibility of the government.

As general assembly election is nearing, the opposition Congress gets a booster with the victory.

In this context, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's observation on the Union Budget is most revealing. "The BJP will have to work overtime to neutralise his attempts to cash in on his experiences from the yatra", said a senior BJP functionary. This has helped her survive.

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"The historical bypoll results have come as a boost for Congress". Even Congress bosses had not anticipated such a turnaround in the electorates' "sentiments" in the party's favour.

The Congress picked candidates smartly and did micro caste-management well.

The BJP lost Ajmer North by 6,975 votes, Ajmer South by 13,070 votes. Congress Candidate Raghu Sharma won the Ajmer Parliamentary seat by 84 thousand 414 votes.

The margins indicate that Congress was able to win votes across different sections of society and resonate the larger narrative of Raje's failures. There were farmers' protests, dalit atrocities including the Nagaur incident, a spurt in corruption cases, cow vigilantism incidents but it were others and not the Congress which raised them.

Sources said a defeat in these by-elections, seen as prestige battle for both the BJP and the Congress, may weaken CM Vasundhara Raje's position within the party. When he did not contest in Ajmer - his old constituency - there was speculation that Pilot was scared. This, despite the fact that the BJP had fielded a Jat while the Congress had fielded a Brahmin. This verdict will strengthen Pilot's hands.

State Congress President Sachin Pilot said that people have rejected the State Government. Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha bodies electorate saw a turnout of 65.2% and 61.86% while the Mandalgarh Assembly situate enrolled a much higher 78.78% as voting in the bypolls on Monday.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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