Special Correspondent

Party men demand rethink on candidates for more than a dozen seats

JAIPUR: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is seemingly faring no better than its main rival, the Congress, in Rajasthan when it comes to angry reactions from aspirants who have been denied tickets for the upcoming elections. Even with names for more than half of the total of 200 seats pending announcement, hoards of BJP men were out on the streets here and other areas on Tuesday demanding a rethinking on candidates in more than a dozen seats.

The BJP headquarters remained out of bounds for the ordinary worker with a large contingent of police and jawans from the Special Task Force surrounding the main gates and fire brigade personnel keeping vigil in the neighbourhood. At least two groups of workers protested in front of the office during the day while another group, demanding more representation for Kshtriyas in Mewar region, chose to do it after nightfall.

Though the BJP has denied tickets to only 12 sitting MLAs in its first list of 94 names, the protests are coming from some quarters on the apprehensions of not getting re-nomination. A similar situation prevails in the Congress as well which has so far announced 146 names.

On the first day of protests, both BJP State president Omprakash Mathur and party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar had termed the protests as “natural reaction” though the voices are growing louder day-by-day.

The most vocal protests are from former Food and Relief Minister Kirorilal Meena who has accused the BJP leadership of not consulting him on the tickets in the Dausa-Karauli-Sawai Madhopur belt. His ire is mostly over allocating tickets to former Congress leaders Usha Meena and Shilendra Joshi from Mahuwa and Bandikui respectively. Dr. Meena, known for his political tantrums, has threatened not to fight elections this time.

Another vocal critic, Datta Ram, sitting party MLA from Khetri in Jhunjhunu, has gone to the extent of accusing a party MP from the area and the other decision makers of taking money. The BJP has replaced Mr. Ram with Dharampal Gujjar in Khetri.

Local party workers are not happy with the nomination of Water Resources Minister Sanwarlal Jat for Nasirabad, after his constituency Binai getting eliminated in delimitation. Nasirabad is the seat from where the Lt. Governor of Puducherry, Govind Singh Gujjar, had won on the Congress ticket in 2003. The Congress has nominated Mahendra Singh, a relative of Mr. Govind Singh.

The erstwhile royal family of Karauli has put the BJP leadership in a predicament with former ruler Krishnachandrapal Singh reportedly resenting the nomination of his wife Rohini Devi for Karauli. It is said that Mr. Singh himself wants to contest while the party has given the seat under the women’s quota.

In Alwar, the BJP workers are angry over allocation of ticket to Jagdish Sampatram, a newcomer who is the son of a late Minister, for Alwar (rural).