It will be difficult for BJP to win in 2019, says Congress chief Rahul Gandhi

JAIPUR: The Congress was close to victory on Tuesday in Rajasthan, where its candidates were declared elected on 26 seats and were leading on 75 others as the party shifted focus on picking the state’s next chief minister.

The ruling BJP had bagged 15 seats and was leading on 57, Bahujan Samaj Party won three and was leading on three, Bhartiya Tribal Party won two, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party was leading on three and the CPI (M) won one and was leading on one more.

Four independents had won and eight others were leading, according to the trends given out by the Election Commission.

The Congress Legislature Party in Rajasthan will meet Wednesday morning to discuss its leader, who will go on to be the chief minister.

The two frontrunners are Rajasthan Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot and two-time chief minister Ashok Gehlot.

The final decision is expected to be announced after the observers sent by the All India Congress Committee to the legislators’ meeting in Jaipur return to Delhi and brief Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

“The Congress Legislature Party meeting will take place tomorrow. AICC general secretary K C Venugopal has arrived for the meeting,” Pilot said Tuesday while counting was still in progress.

The observer was also expected to meet the two frontrunners individually.

In a show of unity, both Gehlot and Pilot — along with other leaders — appeared before the media, flashing the victory sign.

Rajasthan has a 200-member assembly but polling on Alwar’s Ramgarh constituency was postponed following the death of the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Among the early Congress winners are Johri Lal Meena (Rajgarh-Laxmangarh), Madan Prajapapat (Pachpadra), Zahida Khan (Kaman), Ramlal Jat (Mandal) and Prashant Bairwa (Niwai).

BJP’s Santosh (Anupgarh), Kaluram (Dag), Sama Ram Garaisa (Pindwara-Abu) and Jagsi Ram (Reodar) had also won.

Bahujan Samaj Party’s Sandeep Kumar (Tijara) and Wajib Ali (Nagar) were among the other winners declared so far.

The BJP’s apparent failure to retain the state comes intensive electioneering, which involved Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The trend that BJP and the Congress parties are voted to power alternately appeared to hold in the state.

Ashok Gehlot said people had given their mandate to the Congress and it will get a clear majority in the state.

“Congress will form the government. This is the mandate of public, which is in favour of the Congress party,” he said. “We will get a clear majority and will also take along other parties or candidates who quit the BJP for us,” he told reporters here.

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