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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bitter battle in Rajasthan

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

SEATWISE

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.

28 comments:

doubtinggaurav said...

Swapanda,

I am not sure that the final tallies of BJP and Congress are going to matter much provided they are same in strength. It boils down to who can cobble the majority. If BJP is SLP then the scenario which I see will play out is that BJP convinces Naidu, Patnaik, Jayalalitha, Mamta and other to hop onto NDA wagon. The problem that I see with this is Shri Advani is damaged goods and then there is always secularism. As I see prospect of short term third front govt supported by Congress seems more and more attractive.

Ram said...

Not too good, not too bad situation in Rajasthan by the looks of it.

Given the huge cock-up by the BJP in the Gujjar-Meena calculations, intra party tensions between Jaswant Singh and Vasundhara Raje and the embarrassing loss of the assembly elections last year, I think we should be happy with having 11 out of 25 seats assured for us, with the hope of a 2-3 more.

If we can hit 13, we should be very happy with the Rajasthan performance. It is a state the BJP should concentrate on after the elections to rebuild the base and get back support, looking to the future.

Dinesh PC said...

From what is happening on the ground and considering BJP leaders' suicidal instinct (by refusing to buck their egos at crucial moments), it seems it will be difficult to cross 10 seats in Rajasthan

parasuram81 said...

Swapanda

Thanks a lot for the seat breakdown.I absolutey agree with u that Rajasthan is the critical state in the remaining seats for BJP.But by the looks of it,it doesnt seem too bad,coz when I did a guestimate with Congress having the edge(15) I found out that the total tally would be still around 140 for Congress and the BJP,160+.So I think we managed to clinch the issue in head-to-head states MP,Guj,Chattisgarh,Karnataka so decisively that whatever little congress gains in Raj,WB wouldnt be sufficient enough to mitigate the losses they are likely suffer in Tamilnadu,AP,Maharashtra ..so fingers crossed!

Prasanna said...

Swapanda

I can hardly fathom why Jaswant(otherwise such a scholarly and erudite man for whom i have great respect)has been behaving pretty erratically over the last two or three years

Some of his statements were intriguing to say the least and even embarassingly damaging.His lame defence of Kandahar repeatedely provided cannon fodder for the media to indulge in its favourite pasttime of BJP bashing.Babalog journalist of UndieTV were having a merry good time in attacking BJP using Jaswant's incoherence on the issue(bloody hypocrites given that family members of UndieTV were in the forefront of orchestrating protests by family members of the hijacked passengers)

Did he feel marginalised in the Advani dispensation?

Loss in Rajastan was the body blow to BJP .It halted the BJP juggeranaut and possibly sculted couple of potential lliances in south

I hope BJP gets in act together in Rajastan and prevents losses

venkatesh said...

Swapan Da,

Looks like your source's information is also seconded by the satta market. Not a reliable guide but interesting nevertheless

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Jaipur/Satta-market-turns-active/articleshow/4488528.cms

Murali said...

Swapan Da,

Thats not bad at all. In Karoli and Jodhpur BJP will win. Jodhpur could be close, but karoli BJP will win at least by 30000 to 40000 votes. If they can pull of Jalore BJP will hit 14. So conservatively the number should be 13 for BJP, 9 for Congress, the Sikar seat to the left, 2 seats for Kirori Meena and Buta Singh, both of whom are not sure of winning. I should also add that I am still not convinced if BJP would lose Nagaur and Bhilwara.

So overall with all this in play I would say the final tally would be 14 for BJP in rajasthan.

Anonymous said...

History has a habit of repeating itself. After every congress government there is a phase of short lived governments. Next elections may be in two-three years time. Any national party should be sane enough to use this phase to consolidate itself by taking a moral high ground instead of jumping into the dogfight for crumbs of power.

doubtinggaurav said...

This is fun

DMK refuses to campaign for Congress in TNRahul wooing Left upsets Trinamool Congress

Gopal said...

The Rajasthan blunder was in the making ever since Vasundhara Raje became it's chief minister.

We taunt dynasty so much, and it is evident how badly it hurt the BJP in Rajasthan.

It would be so much better for BJP to practice what it preaches.

ayush said...

I dont see an NDA led govt at the centre if BJP on nits own ends up anywhere less than 190 and NDA less than 230 - 240 .

I can see all the signs of Congres Dumping DMK post elections and getting along with Jayalalitha in return for withdrawing support to the state govt. (Anyway after karunanidhi DMK has very little future). also to keep BJP out everyone will unite and there will be a 3rd Front Govt propped up by Congress Support.

BJP needs atleast a 21- 4 sweep in Rajasthan , 6-1 in Delhi , 9 - 1 in Haryana and contain any losses in Punjab for any chance at actually forming the govt.

P.S. BJP should not even consider taking support of Mayawati whatever the case , if they wont to have political relevance in UP in the near furture.

Aks said...

Why Barmer's Muslims love this BJP MP

Despite his strong grounding in Islamic teaching, he is not apologetic about supporting Bharatiya Janata Party [Images] MP and the Lok Sabha candidate from Barmer, Manvendra Singh.

"Almost half of Barmer's Muslims will vote for Manvendra Singh on May 7," he says. There are more than 300,000 Muslim voters in Barmer, he estimates.

BJP will win in Barmer.

http://election.rediff.com/report/2009/may/06/loksabhapoll-why-barmers-muslims-love-this-bjp-mp.htm

Indian said...

Hmm.. juicy dope from the inside.

Swapanji, you should have started blogging a long time ago.

But better late than never! :-)

Arvind said...

There will be no election in the next 2-3 years (mainly for the reason that the cost of elections have become enormous in the recent past). And nobody in India cares about pseudo-secularism other than the media. So next govt will survive for 5 years purely due to MP's "selfishness". If BJP does not form the next govt it could be in some trouble from within. If Congress gets less than 100 votes (I think Cong might cause but who knows what damage prince's brilliant remarks can do), it will split.

parasuram81 said...

But for the suicide bombers Bhairon Singh Shekawat and Jaswant Singh,the last elections would have been a cake walk for Vasundhara.Whatever people might say about the Gujjar-Meena caste arithmetic and the mess-up that followed,people there were largely satisfied with her Govt.Too bad she had to lose.So I think the same problem seems to have reared its ugly head again,internal sabotage.I am absolutely aghast and furious at these so called senior leaders of BJP who r behaving in a stupid and churlish manner without realising that this is a loksabha election for god' sake.They have caused enough damage,also the fact, BJP took so easy till the last minute,only put up some kind of effort to save their asses is totally befuddling!Hope this time atleast with the coming back of Bhainsla and the goof-up in Congress camp vis-a-vis Meena candidates,minimizes the damage..

Anonymous said...

Swapanda,

Firstly these numbers are good for BJP as they were expecting 10 earlier.

Secondly this cannot make the difference of BJP coming to power or not. Western UP will. If BJP can pick up 10 seats there, then it will be ahead of Congress.

On what basis BJP strategist are saying that Rajasthan will decide whether BJP comes to power or not?

rushin said...

Swapan da,
This comment isn't really about Rajasthan, but anyway, here goes. I think you're India's best political columnist, by far. I can't tell you how thrilled I am at finding your blog, and how stupid I feel for not having looked for it earlier. Right-leaning political junkies like me have precious few sources of information to turn to, and this blog has given me more relevant information in 15 minutes than the mainstream media did over the last two months (except The Pioneer, of course). Please keep your posts coming; the more frequent, the better.

Swapan Dasgupta said...

AN has sent me this clipping on the Rajasthan "satta" market. I personally think that politics is not about betting. Nevertheless, since the next few days are all about conjecture and speculation, I am reproducing the report:

Satta market turns active
6 May 2009, 0710 hrs IST, Palak Nandi, TNN



JAIPUR: On Tuesday when the Lok Sabha candidates wrapped up their public campaigns, the satta markets turned more active. Betting on the general
polls, which were over-shadowed by the IPL in the satta markets, has finally gathered momentum, with the gambling on the polls crossing Rs 100 crore since last weekend.

According to the satta market trends,Congress is expected to get more seats than the BJP. According to a bookie from Bikaner, while Congress will get 13 seats, BJP will get 11 while one would go to an Independent. "As of now we believe that among theIndependent candidates only Buta Singh in Jalore will manage to win. However, we would be closely watching the voting turnout in each constituency as there are a couple of Independents who are giving a tough fight to the other candidates,'' he says, adding that Pali, Sikar and Dausa are the seats where an Independent might win.

The situation with Dausa is tight with both BJP candidate Ramkishor Meena and Independent candidates Kirorilal Meena and Qamar Rabbani Chechi getting a good response from the voters. The bookies are sure that while Congress candidate Laxman Meena will lose from Dausa, they claim it is difficult to say who would win.

Similarly, CPI (M) candidate Amraram is giving BJP's candidate Subhash Mahriya a close fight in Sikar. "Here too the turnout will decide who is the winning candidate and hence, the stakes and figures might change after the polling day,'' he says.

As per the satta market rates the strongest candidate, who is expected to make a sweeping victory is Congress's candidate from Nagaur Jyoti Mirdha. The rate for her victory is only 12 paise. "She is definitely the strongest candidate in the state and is expected to win hands down. She is closely followed by BJP's candidate from Jhalawar Dushyant Singh, whose victory is rated at 26 paise,'' said a Jaipur-based bookie.

According to the satta metre, BJP is strong in Jaipur, Jaipur rural, Ajmer, Jhalawar, Tonk-Sawai Madhopur and Bikaner. On the other hand, Congress is in a more comfortable position in Barmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur. Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Jhunujhunu, Udaipur, Baswara and Rajsamand.

Two big names of those who might have to face a loss this time are Congress's Sachin Pilot and BJP's Manvendra Singh. The fight on seats like Alwar, Ganganagar and Bhilwara is quite close. "The rate for Congress's candidate Dr C P Joshi's victory in Bhilwara is 1:2.50 while for his opponent V P Singh is 1:3. Similarly, in Alwar, it is 1:3 for Jeetender Singh and 1:3.50 for Kiran Yadav,'' informed a bookie.

Singha said...

Swapanda

Why has BJP not taken ruling roots in Rajasthan despite what was considered decent governance by Vasu.

Was Infighting the main reason? Were there any disabling internal forces?

Was it the Gujjar/Meena divide induced by Congress I?

Or is it the muslim vote bank politics against BJP/change in demographics.

Request you to elaborate a bit more on the above.

Anonymous said...

Satta Market seems to agree with your source's predictions quite well, except in Ajmer. Your source says Sachin Pilot is comfortably ahead, while Satta Market says he might lose. How come such a large disparity?

Anyway, history has shown that the Satta Market is right almost every time.

Swapan Dasgupta said...

Re: Anonymous comment on satta market. I am not an expert on this form of future trading, In fact I don't even know how it is done. However, I distinctly remember that the TOI reported in December 2007 that the satta market believed it would be a hung Assembly in Gujarat.

Murali said...

Swapan Da,

I also dont believe there is any way Srichand Kriplani will lose to corrupt Girija Vyas to Chittorgarh, either you are playing it safe or your source has something against Mr. Kriplani

parasuram81 said...

Swapanda,

CNN-IBN of all channels was suggesting that Congresmay lose some ground in Rajashtan,I heard elsewhere too that Congress is leading in only 7 sesta and apart from 2 independents,the rest seem to be BJP leading.Please comment on this if u have any info otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Sir,

looking forward to phase 4 evaluations.

Please jaldi karo!!

Murali said...

Parasuram81,

you hit the nail man, I was just doing some number crunching on rajasthan and reading some reports. Here is my final take:

BJP: Bikaner, Churu, JhunJhunu, Jaipur rural, Jaipur, Bharatpur, Karauli, Tonk-Sawai-Madhopur, Pali, Jodhpur, Rajasmand, Bhilwara, Kota, Jhalawar (14 seats)

INC: Ganganagar, Alwar, Nagaur, Barmer, Udaipur, Banswara (6 seats)

Jalore: I think Buta Singh will pull off.

Apart from these, Sikar and Dausa are unpredictables. Ajmer and Chittorgarh are very close between congress and BJP.

Arvind said...

Thanks once again for your insights! If BJP gets 11 in Rajasthan, I don't think it is bad for them. This state was considered 50-50 with Congress having the slight edge overall. So it is not really the deciding factor.

Interestingly, TOI has now come out with the claim that BJP-SS will do better than Cong-NCP in Maharashtra.

parasuram81 said...

Murali,

Absoultey bro!Hope we get some swing votes too then we may be in serious contention even in Ajmer, coz Sachin Pilot,all said and done is still a rookie compd to Maheshwari so hope we touch 16 somehow!Jai Hind!

Swapan Dasgupta said...

A clipping from Rediff:

Why Barmer's Muslims love this BJP MP
Author:
Publication: Rediff.com
Date: May 6, 2009
URL:
http://election.rediff.com/report/2009/may/06/loksabhapoll-why-barmers-muslims-love-this-bjp-mp.htm

Prasanna Zore travels to madarssas on the outskirts of Barmer town and
finds surprising support for BJP MP Manvendra Singh.

Jamil Ahmad looks a stereotypical Muslim. With a flowing, hennaed beard,
skull cap and chaste Urdu he impresses you as soon as he starts a
conversation.

"Bolnewala toh kisi ko nahin bakshate sahib (those who make wild
allegations spare nobody, sir)," he says without anger or remorse when
asked if a Muslim like him is likened to the Taliban and madarssas are
looked upon as a breeding ground for terrorists.

"Those making such allegations should come to our madarssa and take a
look at what we do here," he adds, even as he and his colleagues Abid
Ali and Haji Mustafa answer our questions about Muslim sentiment in
Barmer.

Ahmad, an Aalim Faazil (equivalent of B Ed in Arabic), teaches Arabic
and Urdu at Barmer's Darool Uloom Zia-ul Mustafa madarssa to 90 children
who study till Class V from mofussil areas of the district that borders
Pakistan.

Despite his strong grounding in Islamic teaching, he is not apologetic
about supporting Bharatiya Janata Party MP and the Lok Sabha candidate
from Barmer, Manvendra Singh.

"Almost half of Barmer's Muslims will vote for Manvendra Singh on May
7," he says. There are more than 300,000 Muslim voters in Barmer, he
estimates.

Abid Ali, another Aalim Faazil, who teaches Farsi and Urdu at the
madarssa, nods in agreement.

"The Muslims in Barmer look at a contestant as an individual and not
through the prism of the party he or she belongs to," he says candidly.
For Ali and Muslims like him in Barmer, "the demolition of the Babri
Masjid is no more an issue as the people of this country have realised
that the BJP did it for political gain. And they have been punished for
their sins."

"The Sangh Parivar did try their hand at repeating the Gujarat
experiment here, but a few good men from the BJP stopped it when they
got wind of it," he adds, refusing to reveal who these 'good men' are.

"Though we maulvis are not much interested in politics, Manvendra Singh
has made a home in the hearts of the Muslims here by striving for their
development as well as that of the madarssas in this district," he says.

"There are about 280 madarssas in the town of Barmer alone where
students learn Urdu, English, science, Farsi, Arabic, maths and
computers," emphasises Hashim Kambu Khan of the Jamia Islamia Darul
Uloom, another madarssa that teaches some 370 students, situated 20 km
on the outskirts of the main town.

According to Kambu Khan, most of the development of the madarssas and
the modern practices adopted materialised during the Vasundhara Raje
government's rule.

However, both Ahmad and Ali think Manvendra Singh's magnanimity helped
Muslims in this backward district improve their lot.

Ali points to the computer lab (which houses six computers with all
modern facilities; no Internet though) and a meeting hall that was built
from funds given by Manvendra Singh from his MPLAD (MPs Local Area
Development Fund).

Talk to any local Muslim here and he will show you a cemetery wall, a
public toilet, a hand pump that saw the light of the day "because of
Manvendra's efforts."

It is clear that Muslims here don't vote en bloc based on emotive
issues. Development ranks on the top of their agenda and they know which
candidate can best solve their problems.

Says Haji Mustafa, an autorickshaw driver who is the most vociferous: "I
am a staunch supporter of the Congress, but I will still vote for
Manvendra and I am not scared to say so publicly. He is the one who has
worked for the welfare of Muslims in the last five years. We will vote
only for those who are locals and have good knowledge about the problems
of people of Barmer."

As if to prove his point he mentions that out of the seven assembly
seats in Barmer, the Congress won six and the BJP one.

But Mustafa is confident his favourite candidate will hold his own
against the Congress's Harish Chaudhari in the current contest.

"Even if the Congress had an upper hand during the assembly polls
Manvendra Singh's charisma will surely win the day for him."