Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot (Extreme left), Ashok Gehlot (Extreme Right) during a press conference in Jaipur today. (Photo/ANI)
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) drowned in the desert on Tuesday and the Congress was close to victory in Rajasthan where the party candidates were declared winners on 40 seats and were leading on 59 others. Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah’s extensive campaigning, the BJP could not break the jinx of the state voting the incumbent out. The BJP won 15 seats and was leading on 57 others. As many as 11 ministers of the Vasundhara Raje cabinet were trailing but the CM herself registered easy win against rebel BJP leader Manvendra Singh. However, independents and other parties, including the BSP (three), the Bhartiya Tribal Party (Two), the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (leading on three), are likely to have a say in the government formation in case the Congress fails to make the cut.
The BSP won three and was leading on three others, the Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) won two, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) was leading on three and the CPI(M) won one and was leading on one more. Four independent candidates were declared winners and eight others were leading, according to the latest round of trends by the Election Commission.
Addressing a press conference post early evening trends, Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot said that although the party will wait until the final results are out, he was in touch with other like-minded parties and independents in case they fall short of the majority.
The party has also started discussions on the name of the chief minister. The Congress Legislature Party will meet on Wednesday to discuss its leader and later their decision will be conveyed to the central leadership. Rajasthan Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot and two-time chief minister Ashok Gehlot are the two front-runners for the top job.
“The Congress Legislature Party meeting will take place tomorrow. AICC general secretary K C Venugopal has arrived for the meeting,” Pilot said Tuesday while counting was still in progress. Flashing the victory sign, both Gehlot and Pilot appeared together before the media.
Pilot, who contested the election from Tonk constituency, defeated state cabinet minister Yunus Khan by the victory margin of 54,179 votes. Gehlot also won from his traditional Sardapura constituency. He defeated BJP’s Shambhu Singh by 44,054 votes.
As many as 2,274 candidates including 187 women were in the fray for 199 out of the 200 assembly constituencies in the state. The election in Alwar district's Ramgarh constituency was postponed due to the death of Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) candidate Laxman Singh.
According to the State Election Commission, there are 4,77,89,815 voters in the state among whom, 2,28,28,018 are female and 2,49,61,560 male voters. There are 1,16,944 service voters whereas 15 NRI electors and 222 third gender electors in the state. Voter turnout recorded till 5 PM is 72.7 per cent. News Nation exit poll has predicted Congress' tally in Rajasthan between 99-103 seats, which, so far, is as accurate as it could be.