New Delhi: Is the alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Jannayak Janta Party seemingly on a rough path, or is it a fixed match between the allies to outfox the opponents of the National Democratic Alliance?
The JJP is expected to test political waters in the forthcoming Rajasthan assembly polls by entering the fray alone. This has set speculation rolling that all is not well between alliance partners. However, the strategy being enacted by the NDA allies seems to be one that aims to outfox its chief opponent, the Congress.
Haryana Deputy Chief Minister and JJP chief Dushyant Chautala has announced that the party will contest 30 Assembly seats in forthcoming Rajasthan elections.
The party's strategy is to field candidates and secure seats in areas bordering Haryana with a high concentration of the Jat community population. And, it is understood that this is being done so as to ensure a better strike rate for the saffron candidates.
Jat voters in about 50 Assembly constituencies in the 200-member legislature. Comprising about 15 per cent of the state’s population, with a strong hold over land and government jobs, Jats influence the poll outcome in these Assembly seats.
In Rajasthan, the Jat community is generally seen to back the Congress and by fielding JJP candidates in the constituencies dominated by the community, the Chautala-led party will ensure that there is a split in the Jat vote bank. This is expected to benefit the BJP candidates in the fray as they would require a lesser number of votes to secure a victory. With most contests in Legislative Assembly polls decided with a margin of fewer than 10,000 votes the “vote katua” (vote cutter) politics might really work, sources pointed out.
And, the JJP is taking its role very seriously as it plans to organize a large rally on September 25 in Sikar on the birth anniversary of Late Devi Lal Chaudhary. The party is trying to utilize this occasion as a show of force where thousands of JJP workers from each district of Rajasthan and neighbouring Haryana are expected to take part.
The need for vote katua strategy
There were several factors that led to the unleashing of the vote katua political strategy by the NDA.
The main reason is that Congress’ Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot not showing any sign of weakness due to anti-incumbency and the BJP is fighting the polls on the back of a divided house.
The BJP leadership feels that after the administrative units rejig and implementation of several subsidy programs by the Gehlot government, the task of securing a victory in Rajasthan has become a tough one for the saffron unit.
Despite the anti-incumbency and the continued onslaught against the Gehlot government by the BJP leadership, it is being felt that the Rajasthan Assembly polls would be a close contest. This led to the formulation of a strategy to introduce the JJP into the fray. The party is expected to field strong Jat community faces in about 30 odd constituencies which will ensure that the community votes are split.
The Bahujan Samaj Party is also expected to take away its share of Dalit community votes, another stronghold of the Congress, and act as another vote cutter in favour of the BJP.
In the 2018 Assembly polls, the BJP was only able to secure 75 seats in the 200-member legislature, losing the crucial state to the Congress which was able to secure 99 seats.
Rajasthan is an important state on the national political map and political parties including Congress, BJP, AAP and BSP are aiming to secure votes and seats ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
And with JJP entering the fray, the much-anticipated close Assembly contest this time around has just become more interesting.