Date and Time Display
Date and Time Display Wednesday, December 27, 2023 at 6:21:04 pm

Rajasthan witnesses ‘faceless’ assembly poll, gets newbie Chief Minister


History will be written that in the year 2023, Rajasthan witnessed a ‘faceless’ assembly poll-contest between the ruling Congress and the Opposition BJP, and it was handed over a big surprise with a first-time MLA taking the helm of the border state.

The tradition of changing the government has continued with the victory of BJP in Rajasthan’s assembly poll but choosing a fresh face for the post of chief minister by the party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi stunned the people as well as the veteran politicians.

Bhajanlal Sharma, a first time MLA elected from Sanganer assembly constituency of Jaipur district, startled everyone by getting the reigns of the state. Sharma, who comes from the Brahmin community, earlier held the posts of General Secretary in the state BJP and sarpanch.

Rajasthan got its chief minister from the Brahmin caste after a gap of 33 years — Late Hari Deo Joshi (Congress) ruled the state during 1973-77, 1985-1988 and 1989-90. This also ended the 20 years of chief-ministership by Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (former Vice President), Vasundhara Raje, and Ashok Gehlot in the state.

Public mandate in the election year is well defined with the trend of change in government every five years, one time BJP and another for the Congress, but no one guessed that the BJP leaders like two-time Chief Minister and five- time MLA from Jhalrapatan Vasundhara Raje, leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore, Deputy Leader in assembly Satish Poonia, and son-in-law of former Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Narpat Singh Rajvi would be left behind. Although all of them lost in the polls except for Raje.

The year began with a good change for the BJP when Satish Poonia was replaced by Chittorgarh MP C P Joshi as the State party President while veteran MLA of Udaipur and leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Katarai was appointed as the Governor of Assam. The entire organisation was overhauled with presidents of the districts being changed and all seven fronts of BJP reshuffled.

The year was one of uncertainty and impatience for Congress as the Ashok Gehlot-Sachin Pilot feud on CM-chair controversy remained in the headlines and on social media till the poll season arrived in October. Pilot’s Jan Sangharsh Padyatra against corruption, paper leak issues, and special “prathna sabha’ on his father late Rajesh Pilot’s death anniversary had given sleepless nights to Gehlot and the AICC.

Pradesh Congress Committee President Govind Singh Dotasara tried his best to fill up all the vacant posts of party functionaries up to district level at the 11th hour.

For the Congress government, 2023 began with controversy when Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in his budget speech read a few paragraphs of last year’s budget points (2022-23) in the opening paragraph of 2024-25 budget. Although he tendered his ‘sorry’ for faux pas, the issue was picked up by the Prime Minister in his public meetings.

Keeping in mind the election year, the Congress government has announced a tax-free budget with a string of 10 flagship schemes including LPG cooking cylinder at Rs 500 to 76 lakh BPL families, free electricity to consumers in different categories, free ration to one crore families under the National Food Security Act, and the Right to Health with Chiranjeevi Medical Health care schemes up to Rs 25 lakh.

Gehlot himself had driven a camp for months on ‘Bachat, Rahat and Badhat’ (saving, relief and lead) in far flung areas of all 33 state districts for months together. Gehlot’s efforts and the move of an ambitious ‘Rajasthan Mission-2030’ in the direction of making the state, a leader in the country in every field by 2030, and unveiling ‘Mission-156’: a projected number to win the polls, did not give him final success.

‘Red Diary’ in the Rajasthan Assembly created a stir in the politics of the state. Rajendra Gudha, a turncoat MLA who had switched to Congress from the Bahujan Samaj Party, was expelled from the ministry by the Gehlot government for his anti-Congress remarks. He had reached the assembly with the controversial diary. Gudha was expelled from the House when he showed papers of the Red Diary. A part of the diary was snatched away by the Congress members. This issue remained alive and in discussion in poll rallies of the BJP leaders including the PM who assured the public to probe its contents if voted to power.

Beginning of the year saw a serious train derailment accident in which 26 passengers were injured in Pali district.

A Division Bench of Rajasthan High Court’s decision to set aside the conviction of four accused and the capital punishment in the Jaipur Serial bomb blasts killing 80 people and injuring 176 on May 13, 2008 gave a political issue to the Opposition BJP which termed it ‘‘a result of Congress’ appeasement policy’’.

Huge amount of cash of Rs 2.31 cr, and one kg gold bars recovered from State Secretariat’s Yojna Bhawan almirah had also given a playing field to the BJP top leaderships to make it a political agenda against the alleged widespread corruption in the Gehlot regime.

Frequent raids during the electioneering process by the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax and CBI over alleged scams, paper leak, corruption and huge cash reserves in lockers also gave sleepless nights to ruling party leaders, ministers and PCC President.

The daylight murder of National President of Shri Rajput Karni Sena Sukhdev Gogamedi triggered massive protests in the entire Rajasthan and would have given a big task to the newly elected BJP government but thanks to the state Police’s ATS, all accused were arrested within a week.

A tough challenge for the ruling BJP next year will be to win all 25 seats for the Prime Minister for his third term in Lok Sabha-2024 from Rajasthan, which the party won in 2014 and 2019.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Call Now Button