Corruption and rising prices may crush the Congress government of Ashok Gehlot and result in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) storming back to power after five years. According to the CNN-IBN, The Week and CSDS Pre-Poll Survey the opposition BJP will register a decisive victory in the Assembly elections.
The survey shows the BJP returning to power with 115-125 seats in the 200-member Assembly while the ruling Congress is expected win just 60-68 seats. The BSP is likely to get 4-8 seats and others may get 8-12 seats according to the projection by Dr Rajeeva Karandikar, Director, Chennai Mathematical Institute. It is not looking like a closely contested poll as predicted by many others.
Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje-led BJP is expected to garner 41 per cent of votes registering a seven-per cent gain for the BJP when compared to its 2008 vote share of 34.3 per cent. The ruling Congress may end up getting just 32 per cent of votes. It will be a huge loss of 5 per cent of votes, when compared to its 2008 vote share of 36.8 per cent.
The BSP is likely to retain its strength with seven-per cent vote share. Others may get 20 per cent votes.
In 2008 Assembly elections, the Congress came to power with 96 seats and the BJP bagged 78 seats. The independents won 14 seats and other smaller parties won the remaining seats.
In the hotly contested polls in the desert state, a high level of anti-incumbency is likely to end Ashok Gehlot's rule. Lack of development, high price rise and corruption are the main reasons for dissatisfaction among the people.
Just 31 per cent of the respondents want the Congress to retain power with 45 per cent voicing their opposition to the party.
Former chief minister and BJP's CM candidate Vasundhara Raje has got 43 per cent of the popular support for the post of Chief Minister in the survey. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is favoured by just 25 per cent people and Union Minister CP Joshi has got just 3 per cent, Kirori Lal Meena 2 per cent and another Union Minister Sachin Pilot has also got 2 per cent of popular support for the top post in the state.
Another interesting find of the survey is Vasundhara Raje's popularity is at an all time high. When Raje rode to power in 2003, her popularity rating was just 33 per cent. Even when she lost the power in 2008, she was more popular than Ashok Gehlot, who became the Chief Minister.
According to the survey, when voters were given only Gehlot and Raje as options for CM, she widened her lead further. She is doing better than Gehlot even among the SC/STs.
Surveyed voters feel that prices and corruption increased and employment has decreased in the last 5 years of the Congress rule. A huge majority of 88 per cent of the respondents have answered that the price has increased in the last 5 years, making it the top electoral issue. Rising corruption occupies the second place with 71 per cent and the lack of employment in the third place with 25 per cent.
The survey was conducted between October 14 and October 21. It was conducted in 49 Assembly seats and 196 polling stations. A total of 4900 voters were targeted and 4427 voters responded to it.
The ruling Congress seems to have lost a significant number of votes in the gap of just 3 months between July 2013 and October 2013. The anti-incumbency sentiments against the Congress have gone up by 9 per cent in just three months. The rising price of essential commodities is said to be the main reason for it.
Rajasthan has been broadly divided into 6 regions. In the north comprising 39 seats, BJP is ahead of Congress. In the west comprising 43 seats, BJP is leading. In central Rajasthan comprising 36 seats, BJP is ahead of Congress and in Matysa region comprising 30 seats, BJP is leading. The Congress is ahead of the BJP only in south with 35 seats. In Haroti region with 17 seats, BJP is ahead of the Congress.
A total of 47 per cent feel that both the state and Centre are responsible for price rise with 25 per cent feeling that the Centre alone is responsible for it. Just 12 per cent say the state government alone is responsible.
The party perception also favours the BJP in the survey. The BJP is seen as a better party for communal harmony than the Congress as 38 per cent respondents favour the former and just 23 per cent respondents back the latter. However, the Adivasis feel that the Congress is better for their development.
Fifty per cent of the respondents are satisfied with the Ashok Gehlot's Congress government and 49 per cent are satisfied with the Congress led UPA government at the Centre. While 51 per cent are satisfied with Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister, 55 per cent are satisfied with Ashok Gehlot as the Chief Minister.
What seems to have tilted the balance in favour of the BJP is voters' satisfaction with its MLAs. 69 per cent voters are happy with the performance of BJP MLAs. Only 50 per cent of the voters are happy with the ruling Congress MLAs.
Fifty-five per cent of the respondents have heard about Babulal Nagar, the Congress minister who is now in jail in an alleged rape case and 78 per cent respondents say, they have heard about Asaram sexual exploitation case.