Ashok Gehlot is bidding for re-election as Rajasthan Chief Minister (File).
37 per cent of voters believe Prime Minister Narendra Modi matters more than Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, while 32 per cent believe Mr Gehlot matters more. At least 20 per cent say both are equally important, according to the results of the NDTV-CSDS Lokniti survey conducted before the November 25 assembly election.
Mr Gehlot is the overwhelming favourite as the Congress' chief ministerial face - 39 per cent compared to the 20 per cent that want his rival (and former Deputy Chief Minister) Sachin Pilot.
Mr Pilot (in)famously almost brought down the Congress in Rajasthan in 2020, when he led away over two dozen lawmakers (buzz was to the BJP), leaving the Gehlot government on the brink of collapse before the Congress high command stepped in and brokered a temporary peace.
Some support seems to exist for the Congress' state boss, Govind Singh Dotasara, whose residence was raided last week by the Enforcement Directorate in the alleged paper leak case.
There is less consensus on who should be the BJP's face - 27 per cent want Mr Gehlot's predecessor, Vasundhara Raje, six per cent are looking to Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
The BJP has not, so far, declared its leading candidate, which is in line with its announced strategy for this round of elections. The party will rely on "collective leadership" - a combination of the 'Modi factor' and a combination of high-profile leaders, including Mr Shekhawat.
That might work for the opposition party, given the Prime Minister has a 37 to 32 per cent head-to-head advantage over Mr Gehlot, who is of course the Congress' leading face.
The slight edge Mr Gehlot seems to have (vis-a-vis the BJP, not Prime Minister Modi) is possibly built on positive feedback for the Congress government, which scored high on improvements to state-run schools and hospitals, and supply of electricity and drinking water.
60 per cent said schools had improved, 58 per cent said there was better drinking water supply and 55 per cent said electricity supply is more stable. The law and order situation, women's safety and building of roads has also improved, voters feel, although the positive margin is vastly reduced.
Mr Gehlot's government also received favourable scores on tackling corruption - 74 per cent believe the performance is between 'good' and 'very good' - and working on women's issues.
On the latter count, 24 per cent of voters indicated the state had outperformed the centre in this regard, while another 26 per cent said the two had performed as well as each other.
Overall, an impressive 43 per cent of voters suggest they are fully satisfied with Mr Gehlot's performance as Chief Minister and another 28 per cent said they are somewhat satisfied.