Congress leads in Rajasthan Assembly Elections, crosses majority mark

Dec 13, 2018, 01:18
Congress leads in Rajasthan Assembly Elections, crosses majority mark

The race looked closer in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, two other traditional strongholds of Modi's BJP that were also counting votes following elections in the states this month and last.

Considering that both Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan units of Congress have been faction ridden and there was collective local leadership in Chhattisgarh, party president Rahul Gandhi will face the challenge of treading carefully to balance internal equations in all the three states.

Soon after the Madhya Pradesh results were announced, BSP's Mayawati extended her party's support to the Congress, saying that the party has offered support to Rahul Gandhi to "keep BJP out of power".

On Tuesday night, Nath, chief of the Congress' state unit, wrote to governor Anandiben Patel late on Tuesday night, staking claim to form the government in the state, a party spokesperson said.

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"We don't agree with the ideology of the Congress".

In Chhattisgarh, where 31 percent of the population is Adivasi, or from scheduled tribes-the highest concentration among India's large states-the BJP's popularity in 29 tribal-dominated constituencies further dwindled from 2013.

This is the first time that no one party or coalition managed to secure the majority in the state Assembly.

Asserting that the process of loan waiver for farmers will start as soon as Congress governments are formed, Mr Gandhi said that waiver is a measure, not a solution to farmers' distress.

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The main opposition Congress party decisively won state elections in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and has a narrow lead in Madhya Pradesh, where votes were still being counted on Tuesday evening. In a verdict that no one really predicted, the Congress headed towards winning more than 60 seats in the 90-seat Chhattisgarh Assembly.

But the ploy, which included a pledge by the RSS to revive the Ramjanmabhoomi movement of 1992-93 which led to the Babri masjid's demolition, failed to check the Congress's revival and the signs of erosion of the BJP's base of support.

In the southern state of Telangana, the incumbent regional government-the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS)-was re-elected comprehensively defeating the Congress and its ally, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

Asked about who would be Chief Minister, he said the party would take a call. But Rajasthan's status as a state bordering Gujarat and the BJP's strong organisational effort could perhaps be two factors which explain this. Momentum matters: A year ago, political pundits in India would have said the BJP was near-certain to win re-election in 2019, with the margin of victory the only uncertainty.

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Mr Modi's grandiose promises - especially to create more jobs and increase incomes of farmers - have begun to bite. The BJP's stridently majoritarian politics, critics say, has fanned hate and left the country deeply divided.

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