Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot today expressed confidence of his party’s win in high-stakes Dholpur assembly by-election, saying people have voted against the ruling BJP and for the alternative in Congress.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has rendered the election a high profile by campaigning there vigorously for days besides getting most of her ministers to canvass intensively in her home turf.
Pilot too matched her by holding over 200 public meetings and spending over 18 days in the backward region as a win for the Congress will be a big boost to the opposition party ahead of the state assembly polls later next year.
The Congress had suffered a rout in 2013 assembly polls and then complete decimation in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when it did not win a single seat out of 25, but is seen to have recovered some ground under Pilot who led the party to a good show in local elections.
A win in the by-poll will be a big boost to him, observers say.”I am confident of a Congress win in the election. People have voted for strengthening the alternative in the Congress and against the BJP government,” he told PTI.
The by-election was necessitated following disqualification of BSP MLA B L Kushwaha in a murder case and the BJP surprised observers by pitting his wife Shobha Rani as its candidate against Congress veteran Banwari Lal Sharma.
The campaigning was marred by trading of allegations between the two parties with the opposition party repeatedly going to the Election Commission against the alleged misuse of the official machinery by the state government.
The EC had ordered the transfer of Kushwaha from Dholpur Jail to Ganganagar after the Congress complained that he was virtually canvassing for the BJP from jail.
Raje’s decision to stay in back Dholpur even after the campaigning was over because of “health reasons” prompted Pilot to accuse her of trying influence voters. All star campaigners, except for local voters, are mandated to leave a constituency once campaigning is over.