By the time you would have finished reading this story, in most likelihood, the counting of votes for 199 of the 200 Assembly seats that went to polls on December 1, would have started in state. In the following couple of hours everyone would know if BJP’s Vasundhara Raje is returning to 8 Civil Lines or chief minister Ashok Gehlot has managed to retain his official residence.
An internal survey conducted by the BJP has indicated that the party is clearing the magical number of 101 by a mile. That confidence is largely being attributed to its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s influence on voters.
Even punters are betting on the BJP to form the next government, though their stake on the BJP has narrowed down to the single largest party, just short of a majority.
The Congress on the other hand, is tipped to lose nearly two-dozen seats if sources involved in rounding off an estimate for the party are to be believed. However, one factor that lends more than just hope to Gehlot is the popularity of welfare schemes like free medicines and pension. His hopes of a comeback have been bolstered by the higher voter turnout in rural areas.
But both parties are jittery because they are unable to decode a record 75% voter turnout. While, the BJP ‘s reading of the turnout is limited to Modi’s impact on voters, the Congress is looking at it as a mandate for the government’s good governance.
In 2008, the Congress had won 96 seats, while the BJP was reduced to 78 seats. Gehlot had managed to absorb 6 candidates of the BSP into Congress and also got Dausa MP, now NPP state chief, Kirori Lal Meena’s support to form the government.
Since 1998, even a minor swing of votes has resulted in win for one party and defeat for the other. It would, therefore, be interesting to see if the NPP and independents can make a difference to the outcome of the polls or just find themselves relegated to sidelines.