The BJP trailed in each of these segments with huge margins.
BJP leaders are keeping a close watch on Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh’s Narmada Yatra. As of now, he and his party seem to be punching well above their weight; bye-elections to these 20 seats are likely to boost BJP’s tally, giving it yet another victory to crow about. “I would suggest Prime Minister to ban it, it is the only solution”, Kalvi, who led the protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali had said. At the re-inauguration, Modi had reached out to Rajasthan’s voters with promises of more jobs and better days. Though it is still early to say whether the results reflect the mood across the country, there is no doubt that they have dampened the spirits of the ruling party. Party sources rejected the idea that the elections were a referendum on Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje who had campaigned extensively. It must be remembered that Alwar has been the epicenter of several attacks on Muslims by cow vigilantes, such as the lynching of Pehlu Khan a year ago.
For Pilot, the win in Ajmer was extra special since in 2014, it was he who had lost the election from here to Sanwarlal Jat, who passed away past year.
Clearly, unemployment and farm distress would be the Congress’ main points of attack on the BJP in the days to come, while the ruling party would fashion itself as the “party of the poor and for the poor”. “Or else would the Congress not have raised its stakes in the contest, fielding regular high profile claimants to the Lok Sabha seats”, said a party functionary. “The government has conceded that after four years, it has failed to substantially address three fundamental issues – agriculture, education and unemployment”.
It is for the party to figure out the root cause of the problem and an appropriate solution before the big battle in November this year. One can impute BJP’s potential performance based on what economists call revealed preferences of voters in these This is very different from electoral surveys where voters are expected to answer questions to a pollster, which is fraught with various flaws, intentional or otherwise. But Raje did lead the BJP to victory in the last assembly elections.
Sharma is a Congress veteran.
“The fact that they were forced to make a so-called pro-farmer budget shows that the agrarian distress all over India is having its impact and the BJP will have to pay a heavy price for it”, Pilot said in New Delhi. It is believed that Congress is way ahead of BJP in Rajasthan under the strong leadership of Sachin Pilot.
Incidentally, under Pilot, the Congress has also won a majority of seats in the by-elections to zila parishads, panchayat samitis and municipal wards in Rajasthan.