With Congress leading in Rajasthan but with a narrow margin, the role of independents could be critical to government formation. Congress is leading in 94 constituencies and BJP is ahead on 80 seats while as many as 14 Independents are surging ahead.
The Congress in Rajasthan is preparing to form the government, even if the numbers are not a clear majority. Sachin Piolet held a press onference and said, "We are in touch with anti-BJP candidates (winners). From CPM to BSP to other parties, we request whoever worked against BJP, to contact us. We are in touch with most already."
"People have outright rejected BJP in Rajasthan," he said.
"The BJP government has damaged most institutions. The people have spoken. Seeking votes on religion will not work," Pilot asserted.
Former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said, "Congress has won the mandate. The numbers can go up and down the but public's mandate is in the favour of Congress. We will get clear majority, still, we would want independent candidates & parties other than BJP to support us if they want."
Also, Sachin Pilot said, "Rahul Gandhi became party president exactly a year ago this day, so this result is a gift for him. Congress will form Govt in three states".
Not to be missed in the high drama battle between the Congress and the BJP, the other candidates have also managed to gain leads in the polls.
Here are the numbers on the leads:
Bahujan Samaj Party -- 2
Rashtriya Loktantrik Party --3
Independent (Congress rebels) -- 6
Independent (BJP rebels) -- 5
Independent (unaffiliated) -- 5
Sachin Pilot, the Congress stalwart in Rajasthan is expected to reach party office in Jaipur by noon. If Sachin Pilot wins the elections, it would be an excellent achievement for a young leader who was handed over a party in January 2014.
Sanjay Raut, a politician from Shiv Sena party said, "I won't say these are victories of Congress but this is an anger of the people. Self-reflection is needed."
BJP is contesting election under leadership of chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Speaking of the Congress, Ashok Gehlot, a two-time former chief minister of Rajasthan, and Jyotiraditya Scindia, a young and promising MP from Scindia family that once ruled in Gwalior, are two popular faces for the chief ministerial candidate.
Since 1998, Rajasthan has alternated between the Congress and the BJP. Neither party has been able to retain power for consecutive terms. It would be interesting to see if the BJP may defy tradition and CM Vasundhara Raje will break the cycle and win a second term, or the Congress will regain lost ground in the 200-member assembly.