As per the election commission data, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won only 21 of the 59 seats reserved for SC/ST candidates in Rajasthan against 50 it had bagged in the previous assembly elections. Bharatiya Janata Party won just 12 seats reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates this time, as against 32 in 2013 polls. Similarly, the party won only nine seats reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates against 18 in last polls. The party failed to win a single SC/ST seat in Alwar, Bharatpur, Dausa, Dholpur, Karauli, Swai Madhopur and Tonk districts this time.
These districts saw violent protests during a nationwide April 2 Bharat Bandh called by Dalit outfits in protest against the two judges bench of Supreme Court some ordering change in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Political observers have blamed the BJP’s loss on the SC/ST seats on the ‘Bharat Bandh’ and the anti-incumbency factor against the party. Dalit groups had blocked rail and road traffic in several parts of the state where a dozen Dalits were killed in police firings. A few days later upper-caste communities had observed a shutdown across the state which failed to make any impact.
Riding on the resentment, the Congress has won most of these seats in the eastern districts of Rajasthan that are dominated by the SC/ST communities. BJP dissident Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Lok Tantrik Party (RLTP) also emerged winner on two SC seats and one is bagged by an independent candidate. On the ST seats, two independents and two candidates of Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) have also won this time.
In the 2013 elections, the Congress could not win a single SC seat in the state, 32 were won by the BJP and one each by the National People’s Party (NPP) and National Unionist Zamindara Party (NUZP). Similarly, the Congress had won just four ST seats against 18 by the BJP in the previous polls, while two seats were won by the NPP and one by an independent candidate.