Sunny Sebastian

JHUNJHUNU: Contesting elections from the same constituency again and again in the name of his father is Brajendra Ola, son of Union Mines Minister Sisram Ola, who is trying his luck in this politically conscious Jat heartland. Against all odds, and even against the norm set by the AICC that those who have lost consecutively more than twice from a constituency in the past would not be given tickets, the not so young son is at it again, pleading with people and arguing with his opponents over this succession battle.

Challenging Ola Junior is Mool Singh Shekhawat, a medical practitioner who once represented the seat on the same BJP ticket. Brajendra, normally lucky with panchayat elections—he has been the Zila Pramukh of the district for many years prior to his wife, Rajbala, replacing him—had proved unlucky with the Assembly every time. In 2003 he had lost to Assembly Speaker Sumitra Singh by less than 2,000 votes.

The junior Ola’s importance and sort of inevitability in Jhunjhunu comes from Mr. Sisram Ola’s hegemony in the region as a Jat patriarch. At places one even comes across references of the elder Ola making it to the post of the Chief Minister if the Congress gets a majority in Rajasthan—it is another thing that if one goes to Sikar then it is Jat leader Narain Singh who is the would-be Chief Minister.

Curiously enough, if the over 1.5 lakh strong Mali voters in the district are pitching for the Congress that is only with the hope that the tallest leader from their community, Ashok Gehlot, is made Chief Minister again.

“I am getting good response from all over. The misdeeds of the BJP Government in the State and the achievements of the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre are the highlights of my campaign,” Brajendra Ola maintains.

“I lost last time because of the anti-incumbency factor. I have been in touch with the people in development activities ever since,” he claims.

“The previous time even while losing I secured 46.95 per cent of votes, which was more than what received by 190 Congress candidates then,” Mr .Ola says explaining his claim for re-nomination.

The fact that Ms. Sumitra Singh did not seek re-election from the constituency—she is contesting from Mandawa--and the Congress is holding the prospects of winning a majority in Jhunjhunu district’s seven seats—Khetri, Surajgarh, Pilani (Scheduled Castes), Jhunjhunu, Mandawa, Udaipurvati, Nawalgarh—has given a new vigour to Mr. Ola.