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Role of Gujjars in Rajasthan Assembly Elections

November 22, 2013

The Rajasthan assembly goes to polls on December 1 and the people of the state are already torn between the dialectics of the Congress and the BJP. Reports are replete with suggestions that Rajasthan will continue to carry on with its legacy of throwing surprises in elections results. If that theory holds true, then BJP has every reason to rub its hands in glee.  However, it would do us good to sideline assumptions and opinion polls so that we can narrow our focus on the ground equations. 

Congress, on principle, has refuted all allegations of practicing caste-based politics and its party leaders remain unanimous in disseminating the same to the public. It was a sort of a triumphant moment for the Rajasthan Congress when the leader of the Gujjar community in the state announced unconditional support for the party in the upcoming assembly polls.  The announcement is now interpreted as a significant setback for the BJP and a clear advantage for the Congress. Going by the facts, the Gujjar community has 5% vote share in Rajasthan. On top of it, they were the decisive factor in almost 9 out of 12 assembly seats in the state.

What did Congress do right to win the confidence of this socially backward community? The words coming out straight from the Gujjar leader Colonel K.S Bainsla are an unambiguous indication that this decision is a direct outcome of the “promise of 5% quota” made by the Chief Minister. Like a true Congress devotee, he explained at length how the present Congress government took a slew of measures to give them social recognition and financial benefits.

While the Gujjars may have made a simple calculation to decide their choice, the political arithmetic as a whole is tad complex. Consciously or not, both the Congress and the BJP are going neck and neck to woo the Gujjars. While the former gave tickets to 12 Gujjar candidates, the latter fielded 10. So, the only decision that might have gone against BJP is the Vasundhara Raje’s refusal to rope in more community people.

Only a day prior to this pro-Congress announcement by the Gujjars, BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi had launched a scathing attack on the character of the Congress party during his address at a rally in Rajasthan. As a seasoned iconoclast, he accused the present government of ‘harassing’ tribal community by depriving them of basic rights. In a new benchmark of assault, he claimed that the party is troubling tribals by supplying polluted drinking water. In his usual flair, he tried to downplay Congress’ achievements in the state. If we excuse ourselves from authenticating his source of information, he can easily lead us into believing that the Congress-run Rajasthan government tops the list of atrocities against tribal communities.

While the Congress has secured a certain percentage of votes from the Gujjars, the BJP is now going beyond the call of duty to swing Dalit votes in their favour. Bikaner has a large concentration of Dalit population and the region is served by 21 MLAs. This makes it an easy guess as to why BJP has shifted its focus on this region. Come December 8 and the state will see how well this community wooing has augured with the people.

Related Information

Rajasthan Elections News

Rajasthan Election Commission

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.

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Not too much of a social person.Like to be with just a handful of people, aspire to lead a healthy and happy life with a satisfying job in hand. Hate fake people and more than that I get offended with lies.Can't butter people no matter what the reason be!!