While television studio warriors and Twitter commandos go on and on debating the impact of the recent state elections in north India and whether these will be relevant to the Lok Sabha contest in April-May 2014, Dilli Billi decided to do some number crunching. We began with Rajasthan. This state sent a number of Congress stalwarts, including some very high-profile ministers, to Parliament in 2009. How would they do if the voting in the state assembly elections were to repeat itself in six months?
The grand patriarch of the Rajasthan Congress was Sis Ram Ola, the veteran Jat leader who so unfortunately passed away a week after the assembly election results. In June this year, Ola had been brought back to the Union cabinet at the age of 86 and appointed minister for labour. The Congress hoped this would swing the Jat vote in Rajasthan in its favour. However, this didn’t happen and the Jats voted overwhelmingly in favour of the BJP.
In 2009, Ola had won the Jhunjhunu parliamentary seat by 65,332 votes. If the eight assembly constituencies that comprise Jhunjhunu are analysed in the context of the 2013 assembly election results, the Congress is behind by 138,546 votes. As such, the party has lost over 200,000 votes since 2009. Ola’s successor will face a very tough contest in 2014.
Sachin Pilot, minister for corporate affairs and another Congress big gun from Rajasthan, had won by 76,135 votes from Ajmer. As per the 2013 verdict, the Congress is set to lose Ajmer by 187,488 votes, indicating a decline of over 250,000 votes. The rumour is Pilot may be moving to a seat in Delhi. Here his urban appeal will combine with his Gujjar origins, as the capital city has some strong Gujjar pockets.
Now move to Girija Vyas, minister for housing and urban property alleviation. In 2009, she won Chittorgarh by 72,778 votes. As per the 2013 assembly polls, the Congress is set to lose this seat by 152,595 votes.Even greater humiliation awaits Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Mahadeo Singh Khandela. He won from Sikar with an impressive margin of 149,426 votes in 2009. As per the 2013 verdict, he is down by 180,057 votes – a decline of over 325,000 votes.
Similarly placed is C.P. Joshi, a great favourite of Rahul Gandhi and a first-time MP who held a series or portfolios – from railways to highways to panchayati raj – in UPA II. Joshi became the MP from Bhilwara in 2009 after a victory that saw him finish 135,368 votes ahead of the next candidate. If one were to take into account the 2013 assembly poll results, Joshi is going to lose by a dramatic 197,821 votes. In five years he would have repelled 333,000 voters!
What of the great Congress chieftains from Madhya Pradesh? Don’t worry, Dilli Billi has an assessment coming from them as well.Till next time, meow!