The last week in Rajasthan saw mud-slinging,name-calling,show of strength and empty rhetoric as the ruling Congress and the BJP embarked on their respective statewide yatras.
Congresss Sandesh Yatra,focused at creating awareness about the governments good work,saw senior leaders veer from the agenda and make snide remarks about newly appointed BJP state party president Vasundhara Rajes chunri and questioned why the Oppositions yatra was being held at religious places.
Rajes Suraaj Sankalp Yatra,aimed to be a solemn promise of good governance if the party is voted back to power,relied on empty rhetoric and pleaded with the masses to uproot the Congress without even citing concrete reasons for doing so. The party had to deal with much embarrassment when the BJP national president Rajnath Singh tried portraying Raje as the indispensable chief ministerial candidate during the flag-off and a section of the crowd started hailing Narendra Modi.
What is worse is that both the parties have gone out to the masses with so little preparation barely eight months before the Assembly polls. Raje candidly admits she is out to test the waters. Four-and-a-half years after being in the Opposition,the party finds itself unaware of the issues that plague the people and is yet to draw up a list of justified complaints against the Congress.
In turn,Congresss Sandesh Yatra,which came up only as an after-thought to counter the BJPs statewide rally,has an agenda to create awareness among the masses about the governments schemes and work.
At a time when rampant irregularities in several schemes such as cash transfers and MNREGS wages have been pointed out through persistent dharnas and protests across the state,the Ashok Gehlot government has conveniently turned its gaze away. Riding on his populist budget,Gehlot aims at creating new awareness about the new schemes and initiatives through a piecemeal yatra.
Interestingly,both the parties promise to give the people a New Rajasthan but for now there is only petty bickering over who first came up with the slogan,which party is more corrupt,who had more dubious land deals during their tenure and who is flouting the Election Commission norms for campaigning.
As a result,there is little Sandesh (message) in Gehlots yatra and a dithering Sankalp (promise) of Suraaj (good governance) in Rajes royal rally.
Sweta is a senior correspondent based in Jaipur