Srigopal Baheti, a Congress candidate from Ajmer North who lost by a narrow margin of 670 votes in the 2008 State Assembly elections, is trying his luck again this time by confronting the sitting BJP MLA, Vasudeo Devnani, on the development plank. However, the caste panchayat edicts in Ajmer region may spoil the prospects of several contestants.
The Sindhi-dominated Ajmer North constituency has been represented since Independence by nominees of the migrant community, prominent among them being Kishan Motwani of the Congress. The Congress had shifted Mr. Baheti from Pushkar to Ajmer during the previous Assembly elections.
Mr. Baheti was earlier expecting to cut down the impact of one-dimensional voting by Sindhis, but the community’s representative body Poojya Sindhi Panchayat has declared that Sindhis would not vote for the Congress as the party has failed to nominate any of the community members for the December 1 polls.
In the reserved constituency of Ajmer South, two-time BJP MLA Anit Bhadel is pitted against the Congress’ Hemant Bhati, who was earlier her colleague in her own party. The Sindhi community enjoys a decisive position in Amjer South as well.
District Congress president Mahendra Singh Ralawata says the Congress-led government’s development works launched in the city, especially those initiated on the recommendation of Union Minister of State Sachin Pilot, who represents Ajmer in the Lok Sabha, would help Mr. Baheti immensely.
Mr. Ralawata told The Hindu that measures such as distribution of social security pensions, construction of affordable houses for BPL families and an airport sanctioned for Ajmer would give electoral benefit to the Congress candidate. “In contrast, Mr. Devnani’s tenure will be known for diversion of the Bisalpur dam waters from Ajmer to Jaipur,” he said.
Though the city has the world-famous Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti acting as a unifying force to bring together the people from divergent backgrounds, the two big business communities — Sindhis and Vaishyas — have been competing for political dominance. Political observers here feel that the ticket distribution by both the major parties was affected by this rivalry.
Yet another interesting factor in the region is the demography of Ajmer and the nearby temple town of Pushkar. While Ajmer sends Sindhi representatives to the State Assembly, Pushkar — famous for its historic Brahma temple — often elects a Muslim member of the House. State Minister Naseem Akhtar Insaaf is once again contesting from the seat, while the BJP has fielded a newcomer, Suresh Singh Rawat.