Governance

Rajasthan Elections: A Closer Look

rajasthanmap

As the largest state in India goes to elections today, everyone’s looking on. In whose favour will the tide turn? Curiously enough, Rajasthan has never had successive governments by the same party and incuriously enough, caste and vote bank politics end up deciding the fate every poll season. In 2008, Congress won by a close lead of 18 seats out of 200 seats. The race is tighter this time.

Both Congress and BJP have a populist agenda that functions to sell sops and woo different sections of the society. The Congress chief has further said that as soon as elected, the manifesto would get approved by the Cabinet, making it obligatory for the Government to fulfill its manifesto promises. A more basic question is, however, whether the promises are deliverable with existing infrastructure and resources. A look at some points in the major parties’ manifestos (The list contains only the highlights. Please refer to the mentioned link for the full manifesto).

Congress:

(The entire congress manifesto can be found here- http://rajasthanpcc.com/menifesto/Chunav-Ghoshna-Patra.pdf)

  • 5% reservation for Gurjars, Raikas, Banjaras, Gadiya Luhars
  • Extending interest-free loans to farmers
  • Creation of a Rural development board and Rajasthan Rural Revenue Service
  • 1% additional concession on stamp duty for registration of land or building in the name of a Scheduled Caste woman
  • Metro rail in Jodhpur
  • 5 lakh job opportunities for the unemployed and low interest loans to entrepreneurs
  • New BPO’s and Call centers in PPP mode
  • Effective e governance and wi-fi networks at major centers.
  • Free computer training to at least one member of an economically weak family
  • Strengthening dairy farming by offering cheaper loans to purchase milking animals
  • Toll free line for prompt solutions of problems related to senior citizens
  • State sponsored pilgrimage for citizens above 60 years along with their spouse for every five years
  • On an environmental front, scheme for conservation of rivers, lakes and ponds. CNG vehicles to reduce pollution. Social audit of trees
  • Cash prize of 1 lakh for meritorious SC students and financial assistance for competitive exams coaching to minority community students.
  • Opening Foreign language institutes, collaboration with World’s top universities, sports academies have been promised

[1]http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rajasthan-polls-cong-manifesto-out-gehlot-says-we-have-fulfilled-all-promises/1196039/

[2]http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-rajasthan-assembly-polls-sops-to-various-sections-gujjar-reservation-on-congress-manifesto-1920599

BJP:

[The entire BJP manifesto can be found here-http://bjprajasthan.org/data/documents/BJP-Manifesto-2013_Suraaj-Sankalp.pdf]:

  • 5% reservation for Gurjars, Raikas, Banjaras, Gadiya Luhars
  • 15 lakh job opportunities for the unemployed
  • Welfare board for lawyers
  • Separate reservation for economically backward
  • Bhamashah Yojana-Direct Cash transfer to accounts of women
  • Rehabilitation of Pakistani hindus
  • Loans to farmers on 1% interest rate
  • Madrassa’s connected with vocational education
  • Introduction of an Agricultural Security act
  • Mobile Medical Vans in remote rural areas

[3]http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/specials/assembly-elections-2013/rajasthan-assembly-elections/BJP-releases-populist-manifesto-in-Rajasthan/articleshow/26098487.cms

CPM:

  • Regularisation of farm labourer wages
  • Agricultural loans at 4% interest and maximum support price for food grains
  • Minimum wage for the unorganized labour sector

High political ambitions have been built around the manifestos, although all sound nearly the same.

With  1.7 million new voters this time, the election results would be difficult to predict. Anti-incumbency is widely prevalent because of the lack of jobs and Government’s inaction during 40 odd communal riots that occurred in the state. Despite many successful social welfare schemes (free medicines, pension, Rs.2/kg wheat, etc.), the rural population feels that Government has not done enough on the infrastructure front. In addition to all this, the Modi factor might upset Congress. While BJP is marketing a ‘Suraaj’ modeled after Gujarat style of development, Congress believes that former is not inclusive and has been promoting a pro-poor populist agenda. Modi effect might sway lakhs of young voters today. But, as is often the case, at the polling both, everything boils down to caste and creed for most people.

As parties resort to brewing a winning concoction of caste and influence in candidates every year, we might very well decide to not rely on these equations but study across the parties and vote for the most reliable candidates. Today, when you go out to vote, believe in your responsibility as citizen. You will find information about your candidates here- http://myneta.info/rajasthan2013/(National Election Watch 2013).

About the Author

Raghavi KodatiRaghavi is a 3rd year B.Tech student at IIT Madras. She is a technology and policy enthusiast. She has previously written for the IITM news body, The Fifth Estate and worked for many other student organizations. Currently, she is working as Associate, Programs for Alexis Centre for Public Policy and International Relations.

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