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Mission 25 accomplished, Raje says ‘achhe din aa gaye’
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje silenced her dissenters by delivering her promise of Mission 25. Rajasthan witnessed an unprecedented clean sweep with the BJP bagging all 25 seats, most of them with a whopping margin. Barmer, which had become a hot seat since former BJP veteran Jaswant Singh announced his candidature as an independent too, gave a mandate in favour of Col Sonaram Choudhary, who quit Congress to join BJP days before the deadline to file nominations.
Senior Congress leaders who held key portfolios in UPA II — Sachin Pilot, CP Joshi, Chandresh Kumari Katoch, Namo Narain Meena, Bhanwar Jitendra Singh — faced ignominious defeat in their constituencies. Joshi lost to ace shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore by 3.32 lakh votes, Katoch lost by 4.10 lakh votes, Singh by 2.83 lakh while Pilot was defeated by 1.71 lakh votes. Former Jaipur MP Mahesh Joshi lost by 5.39 lakh votes.
BJP maintained its lead on 23 seats since start of trends in the morning, giving way to Jaswant briefly in Barmer. Congress candidate from Karauli-Dholpur Lakkhiram gave stiff competition to BJP’s Manoj Rajoria throughout but finished second with the lowest margin of 27,216 votes.
Mahant Chandnath in Alwar and Swami Sumedhanand in Sikar, both promoted by Baba Ramdev won comfortably on their seats.
The independents expected to put up a triangular contest on several seats failed to make an impact and it continued to be straight fight between Congress and BJP. The only two exceptions here were Barmer where Jaswant finished second by 87,461 votes and Dausa, where former MP and sitting MLA Kirodi Lal Meena closely trailed former Director General of Police Harish Meena by 45,404 votes.
Vasundhara Raje in her victory speech at the BJP headquarters said in Jaipur, “Achhe din aa gaye hain. Under Narendra Modi, Team India will change the state and direction of the country and Rajasthan will benefit from this change.” She said the party has come a long way drawing inspiration from former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and finished by reciting a few lines penned by the stalwart.
State Congress chief chief Sachin Pilot took full responsibility of the rout. “Taking it on the chin and will work even harder in the coming days,” he said soon after he was declared defeated from Ajmer. “We did not succeed in winning back the electorate’s confidence over the past few months. As of now we can only respect the mandate. Even in 1977 we got some seats in the south but this is unprecedented,” he said.