Rajasthan polls: BJP not wary of wrestlers, but of Sachin Pilot's proposed new outfit : The Tribune India

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Rajasthan polls: BJP not wary of wrestlers, but of Sachin Pilot's proposed new outfit

Plethora of parties could spoil caste equations for the BJP and augment rebel trouble

Rajasthan polls: BJP not wary of wrestlers, but of Sachin Pilot's proposed new outfit

Sachin Pilot. File photo

Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, June 8

Former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot's proposed new outfit has become a cause of concern for the BJP, which believes that one more party, in addition to the existing ones, could spoil its electoral equations in the poll-bound state forcing it to press the reset button at least in some seats.

More than of the wrestlers' agitation, BJP leaders appear wary of Pilot's next moves.

In fact, senior BJP leaders feel the wrestlers' issue would have no electoral impact in Rajasthan, but a new outfit, in addition to AAP, RLP, Bharatiya Tribal Party, BSP, INLD, among others, could augment rebel trouble for both the BJP and the Congress as disgruntled leaders would have more options to choose from, with capacity to dent at least a fraction of votes.

Asked why they felt the wrestlers' issue would not be a factor in the upcoming Rajasthan polls, a senior BJP leader cited post farmer agitation election trends.

"Traditionally when the Congress is in power in Rajasthan, it wins around 25 zila parishad seats out of 33 in the state. Conversely when the BJP is in power, it wins about 15. However, at the height of the 2020-2021 farmers' agitation, the BJP bagged 18 zila parishads despite being in the opposition. In state elections, local factors matter more,” said a BJP leader.

But evidence reveals rebels, powered by fresh options in the form of new and old smaller parties, could spell greater trouble for the BJP.

The party for instance ended up fourth in the 2021 Vallabhnagar assembly bypoll in Rajasthan after denying the ticket to its worker Udailal Dangi and fielding Himmat Jhala instead.

"Dangi contested from RLP and came second while the Congress won," said a BJP leader, arguing how options like AAP, RLP, BTP and a purported new party by Pilot could bolster rebels in poll season as the party effects a generational change.

Further, the BJP is also wary of its prospects in eastern Rajasthan where Gujjars (the caste Pilot comes from) hold significant sway along with Meenas.

In the 2018 state polls, the BJP was wiped out on all 26 seats in eastern Rajasthan, after Gujjars went en masse with Pilot, then state Congress chief, whom they saw as the potential next CM.

"This time with Pilot's fate uncertain in the Congress, the Gujjars, who are traditional BJP voters, could come back to us. But if Pilot forms a new party, equations could change for us," said a BJP source.

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