Rajasthan kept up its tradition of voting out the incumbent government despite Ashok Gehlot raining freebies and welfare schemes that the Congress hoped would consolidate the poor and rural population in its favour. Till late evening when the results were still coming in, the BJP had surged past the halfway mark, and reached a comfortable majority of 115 seats in the total 199 constituencies for which polling had been done on November 25. The Congress lagged behind at 68 seats, ending Ashok Gehlot’s tenure. In terms of vote share, the difference was not vast, with the BJP securing 41.73 per cent of the vote and the Congress at 39.54 per cent.
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PM Modi speaking after the election results, Video- PTI
The exuberence and celebrations at the BJP’s Jaipur headquarters was in sharp contrast with the somnambulance in the Congress quarters, where the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot conceded defeat by evening.
Gehlot himself was leading in his constituency Sardarpura by a margin of 26,396 votes, while his counterpart, Vasundhara Raje, had won from Jhalrapatan with a staggering margin of 53,193 votes. The Congress’s other prominent face, Sachin Pilot, was leading in Tonk by 29,475 votes. Among other prominent MPs that the BJP had fielded, Diya Kumari had won from Vidhyadhar Nagar by 71,368 votes. Rajyavardhan Rathore won from Jhotwara by 50,167 votes. Mahant Balak Nath won from Tijara by a staggering 110,209 votes.
Vasundhara Raje, who is the favourite to be Chief Minister, attributed the victory to “Prime Minister’s guarantee” and his slogan ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. She simultaneously hailed Home Minister Amit Shah and his strategy while thanking the people of Rajasthan for the BJP’s victory. Significantly, Raje has not been projected as Chief Minister by the BJP with the Prime Minister, at the very beginning of the election campaign at a rally in Chittorgarh, decalaring that the “BJP has only one face and that face is lotus”.
But Raje has not been entirely overlooked with a majority of her loyalists, including Narpat Singh Rajvi, Pratap Singh Singhvi, Kalicharan Saraf, Siddhi Kumari, Ramswaroop Lamba, Hem Singh Bhadana, Vasudev Devnani, and Anita Bhadel, having been allocated party tickets. With the BJP at 115 seats and the 2024 general elections looming at the horizon, the party high command can hardly afford to ignore her claim for the top job in Rajasthan.