Small parties increase challenges in Rajasthan
In the Rajasthan Assembly elections, Congress and BJP are fighting to capture power while parties like BSP, RLP, BTP, BAP are trying to become kingmakers. Even though the electoral battle in the state may be bipolar between Congress and BJP, the role of smaller parties cannot be denied. Due to the trend of change of power every five years for the last three and a half decades, the role of small parties also becomes important. Congress has had the good fortune of coming to power both in 2008 and 2018 on the strength of small parties. In such a situation, it remains to be seen whether the big aspirations of small parties will be fulfilled in 2023?
Let us tell you that in the 2018 assembly elections, small parties like BSP, RLP, BTP, CPM and RLD had fielded their candidates. These small parties had managed to win 14 assembly seats, out of which BJP had won the maximum of six seats, BTP-RLP 2-2 and CPM-RLD 1-1 while others had won two seats. Similarly, in 2008 also small parties played an important role and the Congress government was formed with their support.
How many parties are there in the electoral fray in Rajasthan?
Congress had definitely won the maximum number of seats in 2018, but it was one seat short of majority. In such a situation, Ashok Gehlot came to power by gathering the support of all these small parties. Not only this, even when there was a crisis on Gehlot’s chair for five years, these small parties remained his strong shoulder, be it the rebellion of Sachin Pilot in 2020 or the efforts made by the top Congress leadership in 2022. From this, the big political game of small parties can be understood in the politics of Rajasthan.
1862 candidates are trying their luck for 199 seats in the 2023 assembly elections. 198 candidates of Congress and 199 candidates of BJP are in the fray. Apart from this, 56 small parties are also trying their luck, which include BSP to AIMIM. 185 candidates of BSP, 88 of Aam Aadmi Party, 78 of RLP, 12 of BTP, 47 of ASP, 21 of BAP, 17 of CCS, 1 of RLD, 25 of JJP and 730 independent candidates are in the fray. The entry of these small parties has increased the political tension between BJP and Congress on many seats.
Small parties are giving competition to Congress-BJP
Due to the entry of small parties in the Rajasthan Assembly elections, there is a triangular contest on more than three dozen seats, while on about a dozen seats Congress and BJP are in direct competition. BSP has dominance in Eastern Rajasthan, while RLP has dominance in Western Rajasthan and Shekhawati. In areas like Udaipur in South Rajasthan, BTP and BAP are making a triangular contest on many seats. After forming the government in Delhi and Punjab, Aam Aadmi Party has fielded its candidates in Rajasthan elections, but did not focus the same way as it has done in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
BSP’s entire emphasis is on Dalit vote bank, which is 17 percent in the state. BSP has been becoming the third force in Rajasthan with the help of this vote and is once again trying to become kingmaker with the help of Dalit votes. Similarly, the political base of RLP is between Jat and farmer community. RLP has strengthened itself in Shekhawati and Mewar areas and Jat is also playing the role of CM. Similarly, RLD and JJP also have their base among Jat votes and are trying to become kingmakers with their help.
All parties have an eye on tribal areas
At the same time, parties like BTP and BAP are based on the tribal belt of Rajasthan. In the last elections, BTP has managed to win two seats and has once again entered the electoral fray. BAP is trying its luck for the first time, but it has a strong hold in the tribal areas. An attempt has been made to win the trust of the tribal community by demanding a separate state in the name of Bhil Pradesh.
Interestingly, in the 2018 elections, small political parties had got the deposits of 15 candidates of BJP and Congress confiscated. There were 12 candidates from BJP and three from Congress. Whereas more than 90 percent of the candidates of small political parties could not save their deposits. Despite this, political parties are very active in the elections of Rajasthan and due to small political parties on many seats, a triangular contest has taken place. In such a situation, it has been seen that this time whose game do the small parties spoil and whose game do they make?
Also read: Congress’s big bet in Rajasthan, promises to implement Swaminathan report