Rajasthan unit of BJP may see more infighting.


New Delhi: The by-election results of two seats in Rajasthan where Congress won have sent out two clear political messages. One, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has once again proved his political prowess. Two, sidelining former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has cost BJP dearly. Some of the Congress leaders, who were known Gehlot adversaries, were creating an atmosphere against the CM before the bypolls. But the results came as a shock to them. Gehlot has strengthened his hold on the organisation from Jaipur to Delhi. That Raghu Sharma and Harish Chaudhary’s appointment as state in charge was a clear signal about Gehlot being the most trustworthy leader for the high command. More than half of the Rajasthan leaders holding charges in AICC belong to Gehlot’s camp. There was no doubt about the victory in Ballabgarh seat but win in Dhariawad constituency is being attributed to Gehlot’s political skill. The party got stronger due to better coordination between organisation and government in Rajasthan after Govind Singh Dotasara became the state PCC chief. Dotasara’s stature has also grown after the Congress victory in bypolls. The sense of confidence was such that Dharmendra Singh Rathore, who is close to Gehlot, had announced Congress’ big victory in both the seats even while the voting was underway. CM Gehlot had led the campaign in Dhariawad seat aggressively which turned the voters’ mood in favour of Congress in the last phase. BJP candidates came third in Dhariawad and fourth in Vallabhnagar constituency.

The BJP’s defeat in Rajasthan bypolls is being seen as a result of the Modi government’s alleged faulty policies leading to price rise and unemployment. Congress’ victory is being seen as people’s stamp of approval on the achievements of the Gehlot government. In the bypolls that took place over the last three years, Congress won five seats while BJP could register victory only on one seat. Even in corporation elections, the Congress remained dominant. With this in view, Gehlot will be able to expand cabinet and make political appointments as per his wish. The CM has had several meetings with AICC general secretary Ajay Maken on this. Maken also succeeded in containing the groupism in Rajasthan to a great extent. Maken’s stern message controlled the dissenters considerably. There is no denying that Gehlot faced problems more because of his own party leaders than opposition. Attempts were made to topple the government.  Gehlot managed to save the government and deal with the challenges. Now, the Congress has crossed the majority mark on its own after the bypoll results. The party now has 102 MLAs. The tally has reached 108 after six BSP MLAs joined it. The infighting in Congress is expected to end in days to come. At the same time, internal problems in BJP look set to worsen. Questions will be raised on the leadership of State BJP chief Satish Poonia and legislator party head Gulab Chand Kataria, who have been targeting Vasundhara Raje more than the Congress. State BJP has been sidelining Raje and the high command remained silent on all this. The leadership rather took action against Raje supporters who raised objections. Raje continues to be silent even now. It is clear that BJP got weakened after Vasundhara Raje was sidelined. Congress is benefiting from the internal war of BJP. The Opposition has so far failed to raise any questions on the decisions of the Gehlot government, not even when the Covid pandemic hit the state.