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Rajasthan elections: Key insights into reserved constituencies

As Rajasthan gears up for the imminent polling day, the state’s political history and the dynamics surrounding reserved constituencies have come into focus. The state, known for its pendulum swings between the Congress and the BJP, has seen no single party securing consecutive victories since 1998. An intriguing facet lies in the allocation of nearly […]

As Rajasthan gears up for the imminent polling day, the state’s political history and the dynamics surrounding reserved constituencies have come into focus. The state, known for its pendulum swings between the Congress and the BJP, has seen no single party securing consecutive victories since 1998. An intriguing facet lies in the allocation of nearly 30 percent of the 200 assembly constituencies as reserved seats.
Of the total 59 reserved constituencies, 34 are designated for scheduled castes (SC), and 25 are allocated for scheduled tribes (ST). Notably, recent elections have witnessed narrow margins between the winning party and the primary opposition party, and this difference often hasn’t surpassed half the total number of reserved seats.
Examining historical data, it becomes evident that in the six elections post the 2008 delimitation exercise—redefining constituency boundaries—the party claiming the majority of reserved seats has clinched victory, including Lok Sabha elections.
Reserved seats, representing SC and ST populations within each constituency, are elected by all voters within the area, their allocation based on the proportional representation of these communities in the state’s overall populace.
While both the BJP and the Congress have shown dominance in three of the six previous elections, the BJP’s victories have been more commanding and recent, as depicted in the interactive chart.
BJP’s Triumph in Reserved Seats
Since 2013, the BJP has secured victory in three elections, compared to the Congress’s single win in the 2018 Assembly election.
During the 2013 Assembly and 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress failed to secure any SC-reserved seats. Conversely, the BJP clinched 32 and 33 seats out of the 34 allocated for SC communities, also dominating in most ST-reserved seats.
Analyzing assembly constituency segments, the BJP notably triumphed in the majority of SC and ST-reserved seats during the 2019 Lok Sabha election, with Congress securing fewer seats in comparison.
In the 2018 Assembly election, the Congress managed to break into the BJP’s stronghold in reserved constituencies. Despite winning more reserved seats than the BJP, its victory didn’t match the BJP’s dominance in prior elections.
Congress secured 19 SC-reserved and 12 ST-reserved seats, but this momentum wasn’t sustained during the subsequent 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Vote Share Dynamics
The BJP’s prowess in consolidating votes in Rajasthan’s reserved seats has reflected in its high vote share, exceeding 57 percent in the 2019 Lok Sabha election within these constituencies.
Even in the 2018 Assembly election, Congress’s vote share marginally surpassed the BJP’s, hovering around 40 percent compared to the latter’s 39 percent in reserved constituencies.

Present Landscape
With nearly 60 additional seats, besides the 59 reserved, where dalit and adivasi votes wield substantial influence, both parties are actively courting these communities.
The Congress eyes a reprise of its 2018 success among reserved constituencies, banking on efforts like the Rajasthan State Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Fund Bill of 2022, aiming to engage these voters. Meanwhile, the BJP has highlighted the rising atrocities against dalits in Rajasthan, challenging the incumbent Congress’s governance.
The forthcoming elections are poised to be influenced significantly by these reserved constituencies, marking a crucial battleground for both parties seeking to sway dalit and adivasi voters.

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