Despite AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s repeated exhortation to field clean candidates, the Congress ended up accommodating a former tainted Minister and the kin of two others in its latest list of candidates for the December 1 Assembly election.
The list of 71 candidates, announced late Saturday night, includes five Ministers of the incumbent Ashok Gehlot government, 20 sitting legislators and 30 new faces.
In an attempt to balance caste equations and pacify supporters, the Congress has accommodated the kin of tainted Ministers Mahipal Maderna and Babulal Nagar and has reposed its faith in another sacked Minister Ramlal Jat.
“The decisions in this regard have been taken in consultation with the high command and keeping in mind the feelings and expectations of the party workers and the people,” Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Archana Sharma told The Hindu.
Leela Maderna, wife of Mahipal Maderna who was sacked as Minister and later arrested in the Bhanwari Devi murder case last year, has been given ticket to contest from her husband’s constituency Osian.
Amri Devi (80), mother of Malkhan Singh Bishnoi who was a former legislator and co-accused in the Bhanwari Devi case, will be running in her son’s constituency Luni.
Similarly, the party has given ticket to Hazarilal Nagar, brother of rape-accused Babulal Nagar in the Dudu reserved constituency of Jaipur, apparently eyeing Dalit votes.
Ramlal Jat, who was the first of the three Ministers in the Gehlot government to be sacked on charges of sexual impropriety and harassment of women, has been moved from his present constituency Mandal to Asind, both in Bhilwara district.
Hindaun MLA and former Minister of State Bharosi Lal Jatav, who was dropped from the Gehlot ministry in November 2011 following registration of an illegal mining case against him, has been fielded again from his constituency.
“They may be tainted, but the investigation in their respective cases is still on and they haven’t been found guilty yet. Also, it wouldn’t be fair to deny opportunities to their kin just because they are facing some charges,” said Ms. Sharma.
Among others, former MLA Meenakshi Chandrawat has been named to contest the Jhalarapatan constituency, against State BJP president Vasundhara Raje.
PCC chief Dr. Chandrabhan, who has not been able to taste success in the last two elections, has been named to contest from Mandawa, amid reports of opposition from sitting legislator Rita Chaudhary.