Rajasthan Assembly Elections 2018 – Government Review & Other Issues
Rajasthan Assembly Elections 2018 will hold on 7th December to elect 200 representatives to the state assembly. The present BJP government led by Vasundhara Raje is facing strong anti-incumbency this time, having led the BJP to a sweeping victory in 2013.
It’s time to review her government’s performance in the last five years and look at her BJP’s chances in the forthcoming polls. We look at the following main parameters to make the assessment:
Assembly Seats: 200
In 2013, BJP won 163 seats, INC 21 seats, BSP 3 seats, Independent 7 seats, National People’s Party 4 seats, National Unionist Zamindara Party 2 seats. The victory in 2013 gave a strong indication of what was to come in the 2014 general elections, where Narendra Modi led BJP to a stunning victory. This time too, the assembly election results will give an idea of people’s mood in the state, though the issues in assembly and general elections are different. Defeats in bye-polls where BJP held seats have stung Vasundhara Raje’s political aura and she is contending with defections and in-fighting within the party.
Rahul Gandhi-led Indian National Congress (INC) is trying to make a comeback in the state as it tries to capitalize on people’s present disenchantment on several issues in the state. The selection of the INC Chief Ministerial candidate will play a crucial role, just as the BJP pulled out a winner in Vasundhara Raje in 2013.
Main challenges: Vasundhara Raje faces strong anti-incumbency and in-fighting. BSP can upset calculations for both BJP and INC in some constituencies.
Rajasthan has been on the path of overall development in the state. Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) has been growing at 11.60 CAGR since 2000. In FY 13-14, the GSDP stood at $91.08 billion, in FY 17-18 it was $130.37 billion, marking a growth of 43.13%.
The state holds the largest reserves for limestone and is a major producer of cement. Work has commenced on the 9 million tonne capacity Refinery-cum-Petroleum complex at Barmer, expected to create a large number of direct and indirect jobs along with contributing to state revenues.
The state has taken rapid strides in IT, ITES, and Telecom sectors, creating several new jobs in the technology space. Tourism continues to grow with 45.92 million domestic and 1.61 million foreign tourists visiting the state.
Rajasthan ranks 6th in ease of doing business in the country.
Despite making significant economic gains, Vasundhara Raje faces disenchantment across the state. The distressed farmers reeling under losses due to erratic monsoons and pressures of loan repayment are pushing for the promised loan waivers. The state government has been struggling with raising money to fulfill its promises.
Populist schemes such as farm loan waivers, DA hikes for Panchayat and Zila Parishad employees, lowering of VAT on petrol and diesel, are all contributing to a stressed financial situation for the state government. Irrespective of which party comes to power, the state will have little resources available for debt repayment or new development schemes from 2019 onwards.
Main challenges: Large sections of distressed farmers are expected to vote against the party. Falling FDI, lack of new jobs, and alternative income opportunities will cost the ruling party in the elections.
The state has made significant progress in infrastructure development. A total of 132 projects (roads, urban infrastructure, water, power, IT, social and other sectors) worth $1,509.79 million had been completed by 2017, and 49 projects worth $1,077 million are under implementation. 146 projects worth $6,023 million are planned, covering the sectors mentioned above.
The Vedanta Group is investing $4.17 billion in the state, significantly ramping up oil exploration and production. In April this year. Vikram Solar commissioned a 130 MW Solar PV plant in the state.
The problem has been the lack of new jobs created in the low-skill areas and MSMEs.
Main challenges: The state government is facing pressure in debt servicing, a problem exacerbated with large loan waivers and other populist schemes which is holding back further investments in new projects.
The state has allocated $6.82 billion for social welfare and community development. A lot of emphases has been to empower rural women and educating the girl child. Women government employees have been granted two years leave for child care. However, caste divisions continue to remain an impediment in social integration.
Main challenges: Vasundhara Raje continues to remain popular among rural women, but farmer distress is overshadowing the gains and may backfire in the assembly elections. She is likely to lose out on crucial votes due to caste politics and infighting within the party.
- Total Assembly seats: 200
- Assembly Elections date: 7th December 2018
- of Polling Stations in 2018: 51,796
2013 Rajasthan Assembly Election Results:
- Total Electors: 40,829,312
- 2013 Assembly Election Results: BJP- 163 seats, INC- 21 seats, National People’s Party- 4, BSP- 3, Independent- 7, National Unionist Zamindara Party- 2
- GSDP FY13-14: $85.22 billion; GSDP FY17-18E: $129.79 billion
- GSDP Growth Rate (2017): 10.67%
- FDI (2014-15): $541 million; FDI (2017-18): $96 million
- Installed Power Capacity: 20,954.54 MW
- Airports: 6
- National Highway Network: 7,906 km
- Wireless Telecom Subscribers: 65,808,384
- Internet Subscribers: 21,680,250