Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his 18 colleagues in the State Cabinet and as many as 29 sitting MLAs have been included in the first list of 63 candidates released by the ruling Congress for the upcoming State Assembly elections. Mr. Gehlot will contest from his customary seat, Sardarpura, in Jodhpur.
The All-India Congress Committee has released the list after the screening committee’s deliberations lasting several days.
The list set at rest speculation that many of the prominent legislators would be excluded to deal with the anti-incumbency factor.
Discus thrower and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Krishna Poonia, who was inducted into the Congress at a rally addressed by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Churu last month, has been fielded from Sadulpur constituency in Churu district. Assembly Speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat has been renominated from his seat in Srimadhopur.
Parliamentary Secretary Zahida Khan, named in the charge sheet filed by the CBI in the Gopalgarh violence case, has been fielded from Kaman, while Congress Chief Whip in the Assembly Raghu Sharma and Deputy Whip Ratan Dewasi will contest the polls from Kekri and Raniwara, respectively.
Among the Ministers, Rajendra Pareek has been fielded from Sikar, Shanti Dhariwal from Kota North, Jitendra Singh from Khetri, Braj Kishore Sharma from Hawa Mahal (Jaipur), A. A. Khan from Tijara, Ashok Bairwa from Khandar, Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya from Bagidora, Ameen Khan from Shiv and Bharat Singh from Sangod.
Ministers of State Murarilal Meena and Rajendra Singh Gudha--who were elected on the BSP ticket in 2008 and joined the Congress to support the the Gehlot government--have been fielded from their respective constituencies, Dausa and Udaipurwati.
Four new candidates finding a place in the list are Chhatribai Sahariya, mother of former MLA Nirmala Sahariya (Kishanganj), Mahant Nirmal Das, a monk holding an Ashram in Balotra (Siwana), Bhanwar Singh Bhati, a Sarpanch (Kolayat) and Urmila Jogi (Thanaghazi).
State Finance Commission Chairman B. D. Kalla, who lost the previous Assembly polls, will contest again from Bikaner West, while former Pradesh Congress president Narain Singh, who resigned recently as Farmers' Commission Chairman, has been re-nominated from Dantaramgarh.