Riding on strong anti-incumbency in Rajasthan against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the Congress on Tuesday returned to power in the desert state, winning 99 seats, while the saffron party was relegated to a distant second spot winning 73 seats.
Six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), two Communist Party of India (Marxist) and 20 other party candidates have also won the elections.
Senior Congress leader and former state
chief minister Ashok Gehlot has won from Sardarpura, while Rajasthan Pradesh Congress committee chief Sachin Pilot has won from Tonk constituency, defeating BJP’s only Muslim candidate in the state and transport minister Yoonus Khan.
Congress will meet Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh on Wednesday at 7:00 pm.
PTI reported that Congress president Rahul Gandhi will take the final call on December 12 on who will be the chief minister in Rajasthan after taking in account the opinion of the newly elected MLAs, a senior party leader said. Senior party leader Ashok Gehlot and Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot are the contenders for the coveted post.
"Congress legislature party (CLP) meeting will be held at 11 am on December 12 in which the elected MLAs of the party will pass a resolution. The observer will seek an individual opinion of the MLAs," AICC general secretary Avinash Pande said.
He said the Congress president will be apprised of the feedback and a second meeting of the CLP will be held on December 12. The decision on the chief ministerial candidate would be announced after the second meeting, he said.
"Apart from the discussion on the name of CLP leader, several other issues will be discussed in the meeting" he said. When asked whether there is any other name for the post, Pande said that it will depend on the newly elected legislators. The AICC has sent K C Venugopal to Jaipur as observer.
As many as 13 of 19 ministers in the outgoing Vasundhara Raje government have lost the Assembly elections in Rajasthan as results and trends brought electoral reverses for the ruling BJP. However, Raje and her five cabinet colleagues have won their respective constituencies.
Raje (Jhalrapatan), home minister Gulab Chand Kataria (Udaipur), education minister Vasundev Devnani (Ajmer North), women and child development minister Anita Bhadel (Ajmer South), parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Rathore (Churu) and higher education minister Kiran Maheshwari (Rajsamand) have retained their respective seats.
The chief minister won the Jhalrapatan seat with a margin of 34,980 votes by defeating her nearest rival and Congress leader Manvendra Singh, the son of veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh. She had won the seat in 2013 elections with a margin of 60,896 votes.
Among the ministers who lost the elections are: agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini (Anta), food & civil supply minister Baboo Lal Verma (Baran-Atru), revenue minister Amra Ram (Pachpadra), tourism minister Krishnendra Kaur (Nadbai), housing and urban development minister Srichand Kriplani (Nimahera).
Also among those who lost are water resources minister Rampratap (Hanumangarh), social justice minister Arun Chaturvedi (Civil Lines), industries minister Rajpal Singh (Jhotwara), cooperative minister Ajay Singh (Degana), gaupalan minister Otaram Devasi (Sirohi) and transport minister Yoonus Khan (Tonk).
Khan lost the Muslim-dominated seat of Tonk to Pradesh Congress Committee President Sachin Pilot with a margin of 54,179 votes. He was the only Muslim candidate fielded by the BJP in the state.
PHED minister Surendra Goyal (Jaitaran) and Devsthan minister Rajkumar Rinwa (Ratangarh) had turned rebel after the BJP denied them ticket and they contested the elections as independents. Both have lost their respective seats.
Former food and civil supply minister in the
Ashok Gehlot government, Babu Lal Nagar (Dudu), Raj Kumar Gaur (Ganganagar), Sanyam Lodha (Sirohi) and Alok Beniwal (Shahpura) are some of the Congress rebels who won as independents in the fiercely fought assembly polls.
Raje, the daughter of Jivaji Rao Scindia, the last reigning Maharaja of Gwalior, and Vijayaraje Scindia, a prominent BJP leader, ruled Rajasthan as chief minister from 2003-2008 and from 2013-2018 and was leader of opposition from 2008 to 2013.
Raje said she is proud of the development work done by her government and respects the mandate of the people. Raje, who submitted her resignation to governor Kalyan Singh at Raj Bhawan in Jaipur, congratulated the Congress party. She said that the BJP will raise people's issues in the state assembly and will play a positive role for public welfare.
"I am proud of the development works done by the BJP government in five years and believe that the upcoming government will continue the works and projects," Raje said in a statement. She thanked the people of the state, BJP workers, the prime minister and the BJP chief, saying they stood by her as family. "Raje handed over her resignation to the Governor tonight, a Raj Bhawan spokesperson said.
Rajasthan has a 200-member assembly but polling in Alwar's Ramgarh constituency was postponed following the death of the BSP candidate there.
(With inputs from PTI)