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Countdown to the 2023 Rajasthan Assembly Election: Strategies and Rallies


Rajasthan is a state known for historically ousting ruling parties, and alternating between BJP and Congress. The Congress party won in the 2018 Assembly polls dethroning BJP and formed the government under the leadership of Ashok Gehlot.

In the upcoming elections, Rajasthan's political landscape isn't limited to two parties. The rise of Independents and smaller parties in 2018, with 12 constituencies choosing Independent candidates and others opting for parties like The Bahujan Samaj Party and The Communist Party of India (Marxist), adds complexity to the electoral narrative. This article dives into the strategies adopted by the rival parties to turn the tide into their favour.

Assembly Elections Seats (2013) Seats (2018)
INC 21 100
BJP 163 73
Others 16 27

Source : ECI

Currently, the ruling party Congress faces anti-incumbency sentiments while BJP aims to capitalise on this. Both parties grapple with internal conflicts. The CM, Ashok Gehlot, faced power struggles with Sachin Pilot but the party succeeded in presenting a united front by Sachin Pilot actively joining the election campaign.

In contrast, BJP has not officially supported Vasundhara Raje as the CM candidate, leading to internal divisions. The sidelining of Vasundhara Raje, a former two-time Chief Minister, has been apparent. Despite this, BJP relies on PM Modi's popularity, hoping it overshadows internal issues.

The BJP commenced the campaign early and orchestrated a series of rallies featuring PM Modi and leveraging his popularity. In key rallies, such as in Chittorgarh, the PM declared the party's symbol, the lotus, as the sole representation in the election. In Jodhpur, he criticised Congress, accusing them of indulging in appeasement as its “first and last policy”. On the other hand, Congress is banking on welfare schemes introduced by Ashok Gehlot which enjoy widespread support in the state.

Caste Population (%)
Gen 25%
SCs 17.8%
STs 13.5%
OBC 44%

Source : Data collected through various sources

Ashok Gehlot, promised a caste survey if voted into power keeping in line with Rahul Gandhi’s promises at the centre level. Congress hopes to secure most of the SC seats whereas BJP is focused on highlighting the increasing Dalit atrocities in the state which is currently the second highest in the country to counter Congress's influence.

The BJP has also initiated a month-long special drive to engage voters in reserved and predominantly Dalit seats. They seek feedback on specific schemes desired by these communities for future tailoring. The party's objective is to reach 500,000 SC households and 400,000 ST households during this campaign.Meanwhile, the Congress government accuses the BJP of exploiting the issue for political gain.

The Jat community also hold significant influence in the elections with the regional party RLP and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) also vying for their support. The BJP government raised the MSP to six rabi crops which can influence the Jat community to support them. The stain of being anti-Jat has been a concern for the Gehlot administration due to his perceived reluctance in granting the community OBC status and is facing many challenges to gain their support.

The Congress party has been advocating for the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) to be granted national project status, highlighting the need for irrigation and drinking water in the region. The Congress's strategy involves highlighting BJP's perceived reluctance at the Central level to grant national project status to ERCP and have accused the party of backtracking on previous commitments.This project is significant in districts where the BJP traditionally has weaker support and the BJP government has found it challenging to counter the Congress's narrative effectively.

However, the BJP is employing a multifaceted strategy to influence the elections in Rajasthan, focusing on exposing the Congress's failures and alleged corruption. They have spotlighted the issue of exam leaks in government recruitment exams.

Ashok Gehlot accused the BJP of influencing ED (Enforcement Directorate) against Congress leaders to disrupt their election campaigns. In response, the BJP, countered Gehlot's accusations by emphasising that ED’s raid is due to Gehlot government's alleged corruption records and the repeated leaks of exam papers in Rajasthan.

Additionally, the BJP claims that the Congress failed to fulfil its promise of farm loan waivers. However, the Congress government claims it has waived loans for cooperative banks and not commercial banks thereby shifting the responsibility for commercial bank loans to the Central government.

The issue of law and order has become a central topic in the election discussions in Rajasthan. The BJP has consistently raised concerns about the perceived "deterioration" in law and order, particularly focusing on crimes against women as well as communal riots. In a highly publicised incident last year, Kanhaiya Lal was brutally murdered in Udaipur, sparking nationwide outrage. Prime Minister Modi referenced this case in his rallies, accusing the Congress government of playing vote bank politics. Gehlot, in his defence, argues that sporadic crimes in Rajasthan, where prompt action was taken, cannot be equated with the violence-ridden situation in Manipur.

Development Schemes and Promises

The Congress government is banking on initiatives like Chiranjeevi Yojana, offering medical insurance up to ₹25 lakh, reverting to the old pension scheme and conducting inflation relief camps during its tenure. Additionally, the party introduced the "Grah Laxmi Guarantee" scheme, which provides ₹10,000 annually to female heads of families, and in turn empowering them. The government pledged to offer cooking gas cylinders at ₹500 to 1.05 crore families.

To support agricultural workers, the party introduced the Godhan scheme, in which the state government will purchase cow dung at ₹2 per kg. The party emphasised how they waived farm loans upon gaining power. For youths and school kids, the government promised laptops or tablets for first-year students in government colleges and free education in Mahatma Gandhi Government English Medium Schools. They also committed to constructing 2000 such schools.

During a rally, PM Modi assured that the BJP would not halt any public interest schemes but would enhance them. This, he declared, is his guarantee. The BJP party also presents the government as a "double engine government" with influence both at the state and central levels. The party focuses on highlighting development initiatives at the national level, especially national-level direct benefit transfer schemes, that has benefitted numerous citizens.


The question of whether the Congress Government can break the historical pattern or if the BJP's strategy will prove more effective remains uncertain. The ruling party's slogan, "Kaam Kiya Hai Dil Se, Congress Phir Se," raises the question of voter belief in its authenticity, contrasting with the promises and guarantees offered by the BJP, especially from PM Modi. What's interesting to note is that Gehlot is considered to be the preferable choice for CM while BJP holds the spotlight as the preferred party. This assembly election stands out as one of the most intriguing ones and will also have a significant impact on the dynamics leading up to the 2024 elections.

Sara Nasreen

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