Though Rajasthan, which naturally has a high rate of anti-incumbency factor, voices on the ground this time suggest no “wave” either way.
Pollsters and the Satta (betting) market still sense a return of the Congress, India Today’s show of Political Stock Exchange predicts as BJP has closed gap in final lap.
While the betting market in the Shekhawati region gave the Congress an upperhand, some betting market is also seeing some signs of a slight BJP rebound.
Still, the public opinion is divided between the two parties and there is no larger, binding, narrative. The contest may, thus, turn out to be more about which way constituencies swing. BJP rebels- Ghanshyam Tiwari and Hanuman Beniwal —was a headache for Vasundhara from the beginning to the end of the campaign trail.
GST, rising fuel price, water scarcity and Aadhar- all issues were discussed here threadbare. But these are not the dominant poll narrative yet.
Though issues from from “development” to “identity” were discussed, ultimately, the constituency based issues and candidates depending on the candidates in fray. The only pattern one can discern is a distinct Rajput unease with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, though members of the community make it a point to emphasise they have been BJP supporters and intend to vote for Narendra Modi in 2019.
The paradox is this: change may well be in the air given the State’s past record, but Prime Minister Modi still remains popular in a State where being Hindu is a default identity for many. During his poll campaign, Modi has taken out the naked Hindu card only in Rajasthan. The Modi wave and a clean image will help Vasudhara Raje to up her ante in the election battle seeking reelection. Unlike Madhya Pradesh, there is no farmers' discourse in Rajasthan. Rural life here is not synonymous with farming, given the terrain.
Rift made by rebels might have affected Congress to some extent, but the team under the leadership of Sachin Pilot was intact.