Jaipur: South Rajasthan, the most green and picturesque part of the desert state is likely to be a tough battlefield for the opposition BJP this time which performed well in the last election in this area, although the challenge for ruling Congress is not less as the party is facing anti-incumbency.
Although the districts have increased in the state, the election is taking place according to the count of the last election so South Rajasthan includes the districts of Udaipur, Rajsamand, Chittorgarh, Banswara, Dungarpur and Pratapgarh.
There are a total of 28 seats in six districts. Since it is a tribal-dominated area, it also has the highest number of reserved seats. Out of a total of 28 seats,17 are reserved for SC-ST.
Udaipur division is considered the gateway to power in Rajasthan as tribal voters tend to vote outrightly for any of the parties. However, this did not happen last time, because BJP got 14 out of 28 i.e. half of the seats while the remaining seats were held by Congress, Independents and the Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP).
Challenge for BJP
This is the first election in the last several decades which will be held in the absence of Gulab Chand Kataria, the biggest face of the party in this division. The party has sent him as the Governor of Assam, while Kiran Maheshwari, the second biggest leader of the division, died a couple of years ago because of COVID.
The party has tried to fill the void of these leaders by making Chittorgarh MP CP Joshi the state president and he is trying to do his level best to prove himself with a recent mega rally of PM Narendra Modi in Chittorgarh and a quite successful leg of Parivartan Yatra of the party in Udaipur division, but still it will take time for Joshi to become as tall as Kataria or Kiran Maheshwari. The party workers said that Kataria kept the party disciplined in this entire division and no one could ignore his words. 'Now that he is not there to lead, the party is finding it difficult to maintain discipline,' said a local party leader on anonymity.
Challenge for Congress
On the other hand, the challenge for ruling Congress is the hardcore Hindutva agenda of the BJP that was flared because of the beheading incident of Kanhiya Lal last year and some of the prohibitory orders of the administration on Hindu festivals. Apart from this, slow and 11th-hour implementation of schemes is also a challenge for Congress.
In the last elections, BJP and Congress could have performed better but tribal organizations working in tribal areas stopped them. One of these organizations contested the elections as the Bharatiya Tribal Party and won two out of four seats in the Dungarpur district for the first time. Although this time there has been a split in this party as both of its MLAs have formed a new organization, their ideology is making an impact among the tribals. They are challenging both BJP and Congress.
BJP talks about Sanatan culture and considers tribals as a part of it but people associated with the ideology of these parties do not believe in Sanatan culture and declare themselves nature worshippers. In such a way they directly challenge the BJP at the ideological level and also cause harm to it.
At the same time, there is demand for an increased quota of up to 70 per cent as they are dominating the area and agitation for this is a challenge for Congress. Kaushal Mundra, a senior journalist and political analyst in Udaipur said that the tribal youth is going with these organisations and this is a big challenge for both BJP and Congress. 'These organisations are at present more active in Dungarpur and Banswara districts but slowly getting popularity in the entire area,' said Mundra.
Modi, Shah, and Rahul hold rallies
To woo the tribal votes big leaders of both the parties have held big rallies in Mangarh Dham. PM Narendra Modi held a big rally here in November last year, while Congress leader Rahul Gandhi came here on World Tribal Day and Union Home Minister Amit Shah came to flag of BJP's Parivartan Yatra.
Results of 2018
BJP 2, Congress 2, independent 1
BJP 1 Congress 1 BTP 2
BJP 0 Congress 2
BJP 2, Congress 2
BJP 6, Congress 2