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Rajasthan: Modi Magic On Test

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Rajasthan: Modi Magic On Test
Photo Credits: Twitter/X

In the colorful political landscape of Rajasthan, electoral contests have historically unfolded as a duel between the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As the state gears up for a two-phase election scheduled for April 19 and April 26, the familiar bipolar pattern seems poised to repeat itself across its 25 constituencies.

The dominance of Congress and BJP in Rajasthan’s political arena is striking, with these two behemoths expected to command the lion’s share of votes. Unlike in Assembly elections, where smaller parties and independent candidates carve out a significant vote chunk, this time around, the main contenders are likely to retain a firm grip over the electorate.

The BJP, having clinched victory in the 2023 Assembly elections, enjoys a slight edge in the upcoming polls. Its consecutive triumphs in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections across all 25 seats further bolster its position. However, the party must grapple with the weight of anti-incumbency and the absence of influential local leaders like Vasundhara Raje, raising questions about the sustainability of the “Modi magic” for a third term.

The electoral battleground is set for a showdown, with 12 constituencies going to the polls on April 19. These include Ganganagar, Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Jaipur (Rural), Jaipur, Alwar, Bharatpur, Karauli-Dholpur, Dausa, and Nagaur.

Meanwhile, the Congress finds itself at a distinct disadvantage but remains undeterred in its fight. A notable development in this election cycle is the seat-sharing agreement brokered by the INDIA bloc in Rajasthan, leveraging the strengths of alliance partners in various constituencies.

Unlike the 2023 Assembly elections, where the Congress entered without pre-election alliances, this time it has struck deals with key players. Notably, the Congress has partnered with the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) in Nagaur and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Sikar. These alliances reflect a strategic shift, aiming to consolidate support bases and mount a formidable challenge against the BJP.

In Nagaur, the battle features Hanuman Beniwal, founder of the RLP, against Jyoti Mirdha, a former Congress MP who defected to the BJP. In Sikar, veteran CPI(M) leader Amra Ram spearheads the INDIA bloc against Sumedhanand Saraswati, the incumbent BJP MP.

However, the Congress couldn’t reach an agreement with the Bharatiya Adivasi Party (BAP), opting to contest independently. The emergence of the BAP, which made a significant impact in the 2023 Assembly elections, underscores the complexity of Rajasthan’s political landscape.

Anti-incumbency looms large for the BJP, compounded by challenges in fielding fresh faces amid the departure of heavyweight leaders to rival camps. Despite nominating new candidates in some constituencies, the BJP faces stiff opposition, epitomized by former BJP members crossing party lines to contest against their erstwhile colleagues.

In Kota, the electoral arena witnesses an intriguing contest as Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla seeks re-election against former BJP stalwart Prahlad Gunjal, now representing the Congress. The shifting allegiances and strategic candidate placements reflect the intricate maneuvers unfolding in Rajasthan’s electoral theater.

As the campaign gains momentum, signs of fatigue among party cadres and leaders are palpable, stemming from the recent 2023 Assembly elections. This weariness threatens to dampen the fervor of the campaign, potentially impacting the fortunes of all contenders.

The outcome of Rajasthan’s electoral saga hinges on a multitude of factors, from candidate selection to caste dynamics and campaign strategies. For the Congress, breaking the jinx and securing a few seats in Rajasthan is imperative for its political survival.

As the electoral battle unfolds against the backdrop of entrenched party loyalties and shifting alliances, Rajasthan remains a crucible of political intrigue, where every seat is fiercely contested, and every vote carries immense significance.

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