The tussle between the Gehlot camp and Pilot camp appears to have harmed Congress
As the BJP cruises to a comfortable win in Rajasthan, there is speculation that the Congress suffered due to infighting in the ranks, particularly the Sachin Pilot factor.
A look at the trends so far indicate that the BJP made heavy gains in eastern Rajasthan, which has several pockets dominated by the Gujjar community. Reports in the run-up to the election had claimed that the community was upset over Mr Pilot, a Gujjar leader, being denied the Chief Minister post following the Congress's win in 2018.
A rebellion led by Mr Pilot in 2020 had almost toppled the Ashok Gehlot government. Following this, he was removed as Deputy Chief Minister and dropped as state Congress chief. While the Congress tried hard to show a united front during its campaign, with Mr Pilot too appealing to people to back the party, results show the party failed to send the message across.
Out of the 59 Assembly seats across 11 eastern Rajasthan districts, the BJP won 38, gaining at least 20 seats as compared to 2018. The Congress managed to win 19 out of 59 this time.
The BJP victory, however, is not solely due to the eastern Rajasthan swings. A look at western Rajasthan shows a sea of saffron across western Rajasthan districts such as Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Barmer where the Congress had dominated last time.
As of the trends at 4 pm, eight hours into the counting, the BJP is leading comfortably in 114 seats -- 14 more than the halfway mark. The Congress is ahead in 70 -- 30 less than its 2018 score.
The ruling party, interestingly, has a marginally higher vote share this time than it did in 2018.
Among the heavyweights, Chief Minister Gehlot is leading in Sardarpura by a margin of over 26,000 votes. His arch rival Mr Pilot is also on the doorstep of a victory with a nearly 30,000-vote lead. BJP leader and former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has won her seat Jhalrapatan for the fifth time in a row.