The Young Wolf or the Old Guard? Congress stares at a tricky question in Rajasthan.

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By: Amandeep and Pooja Verma

Congress emerged as the single largest party in the state ofRajasthan, ending at a tally of 99 out of the 199 seats where polling was heldon December 7. This is a sharp rise as compared to the 21 seats in 2013. Thingshowever, did not go as it was expected and Congress ended a seat below the halfwaymark, something which was unimaginable before the start of counting. Thesupport by BSP, which has secured 6 seats in the state and several independentswho are Congress rebels and are likely to support the party assure a governmentfor Congress. The initial trends were a scare as both the parties seemed to bein close competition.

The Congress leaders were confident throughout that theyshall have simple majority in the state, something which turned out to bemarginally untrue. The Congress supporters had started celebrating at the startof the day but all of it faded as the day progressed. BJP remained second inthe race with a total of 73 seats, coming down by 90 seats as compared to their2013 campaign. If we are to look at the vote difference, Congress had a lead ofless than 2,00,000 votes with the percentage as low as .5%.

The blame for falling below the majority mark is being puton the internal politics of Congress by the Pundits. This can be seen from thefact that as much as 13 independents have won in the state, many of whom areCongress rebels. Some of them are likely to support Congress in forming thegovernment but Congress could have just as easily won with a simple majority.

Congress dominated the polls of Rajasthan in all regionsbarring Mewar, where BJP led by 8 seats. The Congress had a considerableperformance in rural seats with a victory in 54 seats, as compared to 38 ofBJP. Things were a lot closer in the Urban seats where Congress and BJP had 16and 15 seats respectively.

All the party leaders of the Indian National Congress have credited the victory to one man, Rahul Gandhi. The leaders have said that Rahul Gandhi marched his troops in an exemplary fashion and led them to victory. They added that Mr Gandhi is a prime example of how one man can stand up against all odds and produce a miracle.

All said and done, all the scares put aside, all the newly appointed MLAs of the party are set to meet at noon on December 12 and take decisions on forming the government. The biggest question however reaming is that who shall Congress give the reins of the state to. With two front-runners for the post of CM in Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, it remains to be seen if the party shall go with the veteran or opt for a generational shift by appointing the young leader. Both these leaders have a huge fan following as well as a strong political standing in the state. Both of them reiterated during the day that the decision shall be taken by the party. After addressing the media from their own houses at the start of the day, the two leaders were seen together at the Congress HQ towards the end. This upcoming decision remains to be the hot talking point in the political corridors of Rajasthan.