As the poll caravan speeds away and the dust kicked up by half a dozen white SUVs settles, the electoral picture in the Jaipur (rural) parliamentary constituency begins to get clearer.

“We don’t care who the candidates are, we don’t care which party they are from...we are going to vote for Modi...if Modi was from Congress, we would have voted for Congress,” quips Harpal Gurjar, a resident of Shahpura.

A desire to see Narendra Modi as the country's prime minister is driving voters in this constituency to vote for the BJP, regardless of the candidate.

Here, shooter-turned politician Rajywardhan Singh Rathore of the BJP is pitted against towering Congress leader and former union minister C.P. Joshi.

A first timer, brimming with confidence fuelled by the Modi wave, a senior Congress leader who is a minefield of experience and strategy. And with both candidates qualifying for the "parachute" tag - a pejorative for outsiders - this constituency is poised for an interesting contest.

While in terms of experience, Mr. Joshi towers above his opponent who is on his maiden political outing, the Jaipur rural constituency is new terrain for the seasoned Congress leader too.

"It is a fight...its not going to be a cakewalk...that is for certain," admits a Congress worker during Mr. Joshi's public meeting at Ajabnagar.

On his way back from Alwar, Mr. Joshi stops at several villages to campaign.

"The schemes of the UPA government have lifted 15 crore people above the poverty line," he tells a gathering at Mandavara village.

"Modi claims to end Gujarat, Modi government did not allow appointment of Lokayukta for eight this how they will end corruption?" he asks.

As he gets back into his Hyundai Santa Fe to head for his next destination, The Hindu got a chance to interact with him.

"This is the first round of campaigning and we're looking for extensive visiting panchayat headquarters...we're doing one assembly segment every day," he said.

"I believe in the traditional way of campaigning with more people to people contact...not over reliance on social media."

But hasn't extensive social media engagement helped the BJP build up what is being called the Modi wave?

"The Modi wave is just a creation of the electronic media...that’s the BJP's 2004 they tried and failed with India Shining...then in 2009 they banked upon the Loh Purush image for Advani ji...neither worked...this will be the fate of this so called Modi wave too," he says.

On the ground, the Congress cadre is working overtime to garner support for Mr. Joshi.

"He is new here...but he is a towering Congress leader...the regional caste satraps are helping out in seeking votes...the organisation is working for him wholeheartedly," says a member of CP's election team.

"But there are about 2,00,000 city votes...mostly from Jhotwara...that could favour the BJP," he says.

Mr. Joshi is likely to benefit from the substantial Brahmin population in this constituency. He will also be expecting the Jats, who have been traditional Congress supporters, and Gujjars rallying behind Bansur MLA Shakuntala Ravat, to vote in his favour.

“C.P. Joshi is a good leader...but even if he wins what will he do when there will be BJP governments at the centre as well in Rajasthan,” says Shankarlal Sharma, a private school teacher.


Meanwhile, out in other villages of Kotputli, CP's rival Rajyawardhan Rathore tries hard to connect with the voters. “This election is for the country...for a time when you all hate politicians, Modi seems like a blessing from the heavens,” he tells his audience at Gopalpura village.

“Karnal mharo bhaylo, Lok Sabha me jayalo (Colonel is our brother, and he will go the Lok Sabha),” his “hype men” exhort the people to repeat after them.

Mr. Rathore is almost exclusively relying on the Modi wave for a victory here. In fact, to zealous BJP workers, caste equations, issues, and candidates are just words that have been rendered insignificant by the presence of the Modi factor.

“We don’t even need to do anything...Modi will win all seats for us,” says a BJP worker at Rajyawardhan's public meeting.

The trunk of Mr. Rathore's SUV is stocked with turbans presented to him on the way by BJP supporters.

“Forget about me...just remember’s a common cause...there has to be one mission...get Modi in the PM's kursi,” he says as we head for the next village on his itinerary.

This is your maiden political outing and you are completely relying on the Modi wave. Doesn't that overshadow your individual identity/vision as a party candidate?

“What if every soldier starts thinking like that? In Athens nobody knew me before I won the doesn’t matter,” he says, adding as an afterthought, “it is for the people to decide”.

Ask him if it doesn’t work out, will he continue to be in politics and with the BJP, and the reply is a rehearsed “no going back”.

“Usually I burn my bridges when I do something...that is what keeps me going,” he says.

Is he enjoying this? The campaigning, moving around in villages...being a politician?

“I have jumped into the deep sea without a life jacket...but I am enjoying least I am a voter in this constituency...C.P. Joshi is asking for votes when he can’t vote for himself here,” he responds.

On the way back to Jaipur, we stop at Ramavtar Yadav's tea stall on Narayanpur by-pass and opinions on Modi inevitably start filling the air, wafting along with the steam from the earthen tea cups.

“The country needs change and Modi will change...something...we don’t know what or how...but he will,” says Ramavtar, stamping his vague hope with a confident twirl of his moustache.