The exit polls may have given a clean sweep to the BJP in Rajasthan, but neither the ruling party nor the Opposition is taking the outcome at face value. With just three days left in the run up to declaration of the election results in Rajasthan, which went to polls on December 1, senior leaders of both the BJP and the Congress are engaged in backroom lobbying at full throttle.
Kirori Lal Meena, the rebellious tribal leader whose National People’s Party has a substantial stake in the elections, and which also marked its debut in poll arena, is at the centre of these discussions. On Thursday, Meena had a one-on-one meeting with chief minister Ashok Gehlot at the latter’s official residence.
Although, the pretext of the meeting was Meena’s complaint on police inaction in apprehending the assailants who had allegedly shot dead a NPP candidate in Balahedi, sources revealed the 45-minute meet was called in to thrash out a possibility of NPP-Congress alliance in wake of a hung assembly in state. “Yes, we had a meeting with CM to get the accused who had murdered NPP candidate booked by police. Tomorrow, we are going in for a feedback from candidates in Jaipur followed by dharna at CM residence,” Satish Meena, media in charge of NPP said. He though refused to comment on the “other talks” between Gehlot and Meena.
The BJP is also not far behind. If sources are to be believed, top leadership of BJP, including the likes of leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, are also sending feelers to Meena (who is originally a BJP leader) ahead of the results on December 8. “We are getting calls from leaders in BJP. As of now nothing has been finalised,” a senior leader with NPP told dna.
However, BJP spokesperson Kailash Nath Bhatt denied having any knowledge about an alliance with NPP.
Both the parties are keeping their fingers crossed because of the extremely high voter turnout in the elections on December 1. At 75.2% polling, the election department has recorded a jump of almost 9% over 2008 polls. In last polls, Gehlot resumed power riding on a 2.5% vote swing in Congress’ favour.