Jaipur- The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has delivered a stellar performance in three states, of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh while the Congress secured victory in Telangana. The political terrain in Rajasthan appears to stand at the cusp of a profound transformation as the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP), and several other parties forge an alliance, constituting a formidable Third Front.
This emerging coalition seems strategically positioned to mount a formidable challenge against the Congress and BJP in the imminent Lok Sabha elections. A key catalyst for this potential unity lies in the substantial 85 lakh votes cast against the BJP and Congress including the considerable influence of NOTA (None of the Above) votes, numbering approximately 4 lakhs.
With the resonance of dissent through NOTA, there is a palpable sense that if these parties can align their efforts, the upcoming elections could witness a noteworthy shift in favour of this newfound coalition.
Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP): Despite being in existence for just 3 months prior to the assembly elections, BAP has captured attention by securing an extraordinary victory. Winning three seats in Rajasthan and one seat in Madhya Pradesh, BAP has outperformed expectations, even surpassing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). BAP's swift rise has marked a turning point in regional politics, prompting speculation about its potential impact on the national stage.
In an interview with The Mooknayak, Dr. Jitendra Meena, one of the founding members of the Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP), expressed that while they had anticipated a stronger performance and the capture of at least 7 seats in Rajasthan, the party secured the second position in most constituencies where it fielded candidates. Despite falling short of their initial expectations, Dr. Meena highlighted the noteworthy aspect of securing the runner-up position in many contested areas.
When delving into the analysis of vote share, BAP emerges as a significant player, capturing 13 lakh votes and attaining a 3 percent vote percentage. This performance surpasses several established parties in the region, including the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) with 2.39 percent, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) with 1.82 percent, Communist Party of India (Marxist) - CPM with 0.96 percent, Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) with 0.14 percent, and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with 0.38 percent. The only exception is the category of Independent & Others with a substantial 47.15 lakh votes and 11.90 percent vote share.
In the 8 Assembly seats of Banswara and Dungarpur the Congress vote share has been33.50% , BJP 29.93 % while BAP garnered a good 27.66 %.
Mohan Lal Rot, the State President of BAP, indicates that according to the percentage of votes received in the assembly elections, BAP holds the second position in Dungarpur-Banswara and Udaipur Lok Sabha seats. The party's vote percentage is consistently increasing, and candidates will also be fielded from the Chittorgarh seat. Despite obtaining 39% of the votes in these seats, BAP is confident in its growing support and emerge as a touch competition for political stalwarts in the tribal dominant areas specially in South Rajasthan.
While the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) remains a major political force in Uttar Pradesh, its performance in the Rajasthan elections has fallen short of expectations. The party secured 7,21,037 votes, nearly half of the votes captured by the Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP). BSP State President Bhagwan Singh Baba has acknowledged the outcome, revealing that the party is strategizing and deciding on the number of seats to contest in future elections.
Despite the setback in Rajasthan, Bhagwan Singh Baba reassures that the BSP's State Executive is fully prepared and points out that the party maintains strong influence in specific constituencies, notably Alwar and Bharatpur Lok Sabha constituencies. As the BSP recalibrates its approach, the upcoming executive meeting will likely play a crucial role in reshaping the party's strategy for future political engagements in the region.
The Nagaur Lok Sabha seat is currently held by RLP, with Hanuman Beniwal as the MP. However, in the last elections, BJP had supported Beniwal here. The Third Front parties have good chances to pose a strong challenge to Congress and BJP in various seats, including Nagaur, Jodhpur, Barmer, Ajmer, Banswara, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Bharatpur, and Karauli-Dholpur. Based on vote percentage, these parties hold the second and third positions in these constituencies.
Hanuman Beniwal, the RLP MP, states that RLP received substantial votes in many assembly seats, including Nagaur, Jodhpur, Barmer, and Ajmer. The party intends to contest the Lok Sabha elections independently, determining the Lok Sabha seat based on the votes received in the assembly elections
The significant presence of NOTA (None of the Above) votes in the recent Rajasthan elections indicates a notable level of dissent and dissatisfaction among voters. In 17 Rajasthan seats where NOTA votes surpassed the winning margin, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress each secured eight seats, while the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) won one seat. The average winning margin in these constituencies was 1,380 votes, whereas NOTA garnered an average of 2,467 votes.
The fact that NOTA votes exceeded the winning margin in a considerable number of seats suggests that a substantial portion of the electorate chose to express their discontent by abstaining from supporting any of the major political parties. In seven seats where the winning margin was less than 1,000 votes, with the BJP winning four and the Congress three, NOTA becomes particularly noteworthy.
Jhadol a tribal seat in Udaipur district with a 3% NOTA vote share, stands out as having the highest NOTA vote percentage in the state. Despite this, the BJP secured a consecutive win in this seat.
Notable candidates, such as RLP's chief Hanuman Beniwal in Khinwsar, faced a scenario where their victory margin was less than the NOTA tally, indicating dissatisfaction among voters. Similarly, in Baytoo, Harish Chaudhary won by 910 votes, but NOTA polling at 2,173 votes highlights discontent in this constituency. In Hawa Mahal, the Congress's R R Tiwari lost to the BJP candidate by 974 votes, while NOTA received 1,463 votes, showcasing dissent even in the contest between major parties.
This pattern reflects that a significant segment of voters chose to voice their discontent by opting for NOTA, signalling a need for political parties to address the concerns and expectations of the electorate more effectively.
"As a social scientist, it's intriguing to observe the notable impact of NOTA in the recent elections. The 0.96% vote share for NOTA surpassing that of established parties like AAP and JJP raises questions about the electorate's psyche. It suggests a growing desire for alternative choices and an expression of dissatisfaction with the conventional political options. The substantial number of voters opting for NOTA signals a nuanced sentiment that demands a closer examination to understand the evolving dynamics of voter behavior in our democracy." says Dr. Nidhi Jain a social scientist in a brief conversation with The Mooknayak.