After three big by-election victories in Rajasthan, Sachin Pilot, the Indian National Congress state unit president, contends that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is worried about Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s popularity among voters.
“It is obvious, they have declared chief ministerial candidates in the rest of the states — as ruling as well as opposition party — but they are not doing it in Rajasthan,” said Pilot, pointing to speeches made by BJP President Amit Shah over the last year in Bhopal, Raipur and Bengaluru.
Shah has declared Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Raman Singh, and BS Yeddyurappa as the party’s chief ministerial nominees in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka, respectively for assembly elections to be held this year. “The BJP president had come to Jaipur, but he was quiet,” added Pilot, whose party won the Lok Sabha by-elections in Ajmer and Alwar, and an assembly by-election in Mandalgarh.
Rajasthan is due to hold elections in November or December this year, five years after Vasundhara Raje led the BJP to victory in 163 out of 200 seats in the state in 2013.
Pilot said the government has squandered that historic mandate. But he does not believe that the BJP will attempt to counter any possible anti-incumbency by clubbing the state elections with an early election for the Lok Sabha.
Vajpayee attempted the same thing in 2004, and lost. The BJP is not a party that will give up power, months ahead of schedule. They will rule till the last day of their tenure.Sachin Pilot, President, Rajasthan Congress
The Congress is already in conversation with potential allies for the coming Lok Sabha election, and is likely to attempt an arrangement similar to the “rainbow coalition” put together by Sonia Gandhi in 2004. “The coalition is possible, and it will happen. If small political parties compromise on their minor issues, then we can establish cooperation on the larger national interest,” said Pilot.
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