Given the feedback from grassroots, it will be difficult for the BJP to realise its catchphrase ‘Bhajpa Phir Se’ in the Assembly election to be held on December 7. Sources say BJP president Amit Shah is trying to control the damage, as a landslide victory for the Congress would adversely affect the party’s prospects in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
According to sources, Amit Shah is working hard to win at least 70 seats. The party’s calculation is the BJP would romp home in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and if the victory of the Congress is not landslide it will be the ideal situation in the given situation.
Although the Congress looks better placed than the BJP, it is also a divided house with former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and party chief Sachin Pilot engaging in a bitter fight for supremacy. A Congress leader close to Gehlot said the former chief minister has managed to give tickets to a sizable number of his loyalists. He has also turned the ire of Congress rebels against Pilot. Some of the rebels (about 10) are likely to win the election. The leader quoted above said, a low margin of victory for the Congress is the ideal situation for Gehlot. In such a situation with the support of rebels he can stake claim for chief ministership.
In the 2013, the BJP had swept the election, winning 163 out of a total of 200 seats. The Congress had managed to win only 21 seats. What works for the Congress is the strong anti-incumbency wave sweeping across the state. Incumbent Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is not favorably looked upon by the general public and party workers. The RSS is also not happy with her. A senior RSS leader said the party’s tally would go down to 20, as there is huge resentment among the party workers and general public. Moreover, ignoring the party president’s advice, she gave tickets to about 120 of her supporters — some of them are very unpopular.
Although the Congress is confident of a victory, it believes that it won’t be a cake walk as it initially had thought. One of the reasons they cite is Prime Minister Narendra Modi is immensely popular in Rajasthan.