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Gehlot bets big on welfare, but are sops enough to win polls?


Rajasthan minister Ashok Gehlot may be battling his rival in the Sachin Pilot party and his ambitions for the CM position but he also has his eye on next year’s parliamentary elections. Beneficiaries of the Center’s Ujjwala program, about 670,000 BPL households, will now receive 12 LPG cylinders at Rs 500 each, when their market price is Rs 1,056. Gehlot was very concerned about freebies in both of his previous terms, but that did not save Congress from incumbent opposition.

Admittedly, the current price of LPG cylinders is very high. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has taken a heavy toll on India and the world. Household spending on fuel has increased. The “LPG tank for all” was made possible for the GoI thanks to the drop in fuel prices after 2014. Himachal voters punished the BJP there and rewarded the party in Gujarat. Previously, the party suffered from rising prices while in Gujarat, countless industrial and development projects benefited the party.

Voters react to gifts and giveaways. But they are also influenced by many factors such as the ability to secure jobs in the state, the effectiveness of the state police against crime, trouble-free service delivery and corruption. With the elections moving to the president, there is also a strong preference for ministers, who display the power and growth of the court. Gehlot will want to consider how many of these other boxes he has checked, in addition to welfarism.



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