For Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, a convincing win in the two Assembly seats in bypolls may come as a shot in the arm to consolidate his position in the party. For the faction-ridden Congress in Rajasthan, the results of the bypolls to the two assembly seats --Dhariawad and Vallabhnagar couldn't have come at a better time.
According to the latest results available, Congress candidate Nagraj Meena won the Dhariawad assembly seat by over 18,725 votes. Independent candidate, BJP came in the third position.
In the Vallabhnagar assembly constituency, Congress is leading by a margin of 18,249 votes over Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, while the BJP candidate is trailing in the fourth position.
Congress’ win in the Vallabh Nagar assembly constituency is a foregone conclusion as its candidate has been maintaining a steady lead over its rival from the beginning of counting of votes. The seat has been held by the Congress party since 1952.
However, Gehlot alone can claim the credit of snatching Dhariawad from the BJP with the party winning the seat in 2013 and 2018.
With this victory, the Gehlot camp will have an upper hand over the Sachin Pilot faction and the prolonged tussle between the two may now take a back seat.
Observers say that buoyed by the victory, the Chief Minister may now go for the long- pending Cabinet reshuffle, which has been a vexed issue for a long time in the state. The Pilot camp has been demanding the induction of new ministers into the cabinet, as promised last year. It was in July last year that Sachin Pilot raised a revolt by claiming that he enjoys the support of 30 MLAs from Congress.
However, now with two wins to his credit, Gehlot may not yield to the demands of former deputy Chief Minister Pilot to accommodate his loyalists in the cabinet.
The two leaders – Gehlot and Pilot have also put up a show of unity during the election campaign. According to observers, Ajay Maken, AICC general secretary in charge of Rajasthan was instrumental to forging the unity.
In the 200-member Assembly, Congress has 106 MLAs of its own. However, it has the support of six BSP MLAs, 13 independents, one RLD MLA and two CPM MLAs.
Observers say that the bypolls also expose the rift in the BJP and disquiet within its ranks. The party, for long, has been marred by the feud between BJP state president Satish Poonia and former CM Vasundhara Raje.