How Gujarat Poll Outcome May Decide Electoral Politics in Neighbouring Rajasthan

October 21, 2017, 11:36 AM

New Delhi: Both the Congress and BJP have banked on Rajasthanis to lead their charge for the Gujarat Assembly Elections and both are at interesting stages of their careers.

Congress’ Ashok Gehlot, the 66-year-old veteran politician from Jodhpur, is a two-time Chief Minister of Rajasthan. On the other side is 48-year-old parliamentarian from Ajmer — Bhupender Yadav.

Gehlot is said have the ears of the most important person in Congress after the Gandhi family — Ahmed Patel. Gehlot played a key role in Patel’s election to the Rajya Sabha. While Yadav is said to be a close aide to BJP chief Amit Shah.

Both Gehlot and Yadav, have served as members of various Parliamentary Standing committees and both hold key positions in the central leadership of their parties – as national general secretaries. They are known as men with strong organisation skills, adept at getting the caste equations right and juggling egos of various leaders.

Interestingly, five years back when Gujarat elections were held with Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister, elections from both parties were managed by two Rajasthanis — Om Mathur from BJP and CP Joshi from Congress.

A rising force in national politics, Bhupender Yadav, proved his mettle in 2014 Jharkhand Assembly elections, where he was a joint in-charge. Under his leadership, the BJP formed a majority government for the first time since the state’s formation. Though he later delivered mixed results for his party in Bihar, he came back strongly to play an instrumental role in the party’s mammoth victory in Uttar Pradesh elections.

For the Congress, Gehlot has ensured his party’s triumph twice in Rajasthan and recently headed the screening committee for Punjab assembly polls, where Congress won a comfortable majority.

These similarities aside, the careers of both the political leaders intersect at interesting junctures.

Gehlot is said to have been appointed as the Gujarat in-charge owing, partly, to his turf war with Sachin Pilot. It is said that Gehlot was moved to Gujarat with an aim to allow Sachin Pilot his way in Rajasthan for some time.

Pilot as Rajasthan state President will be expected to deliver in the upcoming by-elections for two Lok Sabha seats — Alwar and Ajmer. The state President’s mettle will be tested if asked to contest from Ajmer, a seat he won in 2009, but lost in the subsequent election.

Even a respectable performance by Gehlot in Gujarat will cement his position not just in national politics but in his home state as well, where he could be again declared the chief ministerial candidate for polls due next year.

For Bhupender Yadav, who has risen to great heights within his party in a short span, another comfortable win for BJP may mean his position cementing further in the central leadership. BJP has been trying to project and nurture Yadav as an OBC face in the Hindi heartland.

Gujarat will be a keenly watched contest. The Congress has become a different animal after Ahmed Patel’s victory and their recent triumph in Gurdaspur bypoll, while the BJP is fighting Patidar agitation and a two-decade incumbency.

The outcome of the Gujarat polls will have its own impact on national politics. And most certainly in neighbouring Rajasthan going to the polls next year.

Source-News 18



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