Rajasthan, a top BJP strategist told me this morning, will determine whether we sit in government or in the opposition. I think the same is true for the Congress--whether it leads the next government or plays second fiddle.
The Congress has ploughed in some Rs 300 crores into the campaign in the state. There are a handful of Rahul's babalog friends who are also contesting.
The BJP campaign started on a wrong note with Vasundhara Raje retreating into her son's constituency in protest against what she has reportedly called "the sale of a seat" to a Thakur. She is now back in the campaign but there are too many inter-personal tensions in the BJP. Modi's rallies were exceptionally well attended but the Gujarat CM is not in the larger calculation.
The Congress is fighting a national campaign. The BJP, however, has chosen to make it a local battle against Ashok Gehlot. Some of the BJP animation films targeting Gehlot were extremely funny and hard hitting. The EC took them off TV.
I am giving below an assessment, made late last night, by a top bureaucrat who is very well clued into the state. This is his assessment, not mine
1. BIKANER, BJP
2. CHURU, BJP
3. JHUNJHUNU, BJP WITH EDGE.
4. GANGANAGAR, BJP TO LOSE DUE TO CANDIDATE NIHAL CHAND
5. BHARATPUR, BJP EDGE
6. TONK-SAWAIMADHOPUR, BJP
7. ALWAR, CONG AHEAD DUE TO ANTI-YADAV FORMATION AGAINST BJP
8. JAIPUR, BJP
9, JAIPUR RURAL, BJP
10. SIKAR, BJP TO LOSE, JATS AGAINST THE CANDIDATE
11. AJMER, CONG WELL AHEAD
12. NAGAUR, BJP TO LOSE DUE TO NATHURAM MIRDHA'S GRANDDAUGHTER
13. BHILWARA, CONGRESS EDGE, SITTING BJP CANDIDATE LINKED TO THAKURWAD
14. JODHPUR, IS TOUGH TO PREDICT AS JATS ARE WITH THE BJP CANDIDATE BUT CM IS SPENDING ALL HIS TIME
15. BARMER, BJP WILL LOSE EVEN THOUGH MANAVENDRA SINGH HAS COMPROMISED WITH SONA RAM CHOUDHARY, JASWANT'S PLOT TO REMOVE ERSTWHILE MINISTER GANGACHARAN FROM VASU GOVT STILL RANCKLES
16. PALI, BJP
17. JALORE, TOUGH TO PREDICT, FIGHT BETWEEN BUTA AND BJP
18, UDAIPUR, CONGRESS AHEAD
19. BANSWARA, CONGRESS AHEAD
20. RAJASAMUND, BJP TO WIN
21. KOTA, BJP IS UP
22. JHALAWAR, BJP WITH LOW MARGIN
23. DAUSA, INDEPENDENT K. L MEENA WILL WIN IF BJP TRANSFERS ITS VOTE
24. DHOLPUR-KAROLI : NOT KNOWN
25. CHITTOR, BJP TO LOSE
I will keep you posted after Phase 4.