Rajasthan | Other States

Udaipur murder’s political ramifications pose challenge to Gehlot

Security personnel patrol during a four-hour relaxation in the curfew imposed by administration to maintain law and order after the murder of tailor Kanhaiya Lal, in Udaipur, Saturday, July 2, 2022.

Security personnel patrol during a four-hour relaxation in the curfew imposed by administration to maintain law and order after the murder of tailor Kanhaiya Lal, in Udaipur, Saturday, July 2, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The political ramifications of the horrific murder of tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur have posed a major challenge to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot ahead of the 2023 Assembly election. The ruling Congress seems to be in a predicament while trying to control the law and order situation in the aftermath of the June 28 incident.

A sharp increase in religious polarisation, witnessed during the protests against the killing in several towns across the State, is going to affect political prospects of Congress. The Opposition BJP’s accusation of the Congress following an “appeasement policy” towards Muslims is likely to gain wide currency despite the party’s efforts to rebut it.

The differences between the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the State’s investigating agencies during the initial probe of the crime may create more difficulties for the State government. While the State police was quick to assert that the two accused, who slit the throat of Kanhaiya Lal, had links with Pakistan’s Dawat-e-Islami, the NIA cautioned against drawing any hasty conclusions.

The NIA on Saturday obtained the custody of two main accused, Riyaz Attari and Ghous Mohammed, as well two other accused for 10 days from a special court in Jaipur. The two others, Asif Hussain and Mohsin Khan, were arrested on Thursday on charges of being involved in the plan to kill Kanhaiya Lal.

While the BJP is expected to make an attempt to get the maximum benefit from polarisation, which will lead to consolidation of the voters of the majority community, the Congress also faces the challenge of increasing influence of Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) in the Mewar region. The districts such as Pratapgarh, Dungarpur and Banswara, adjacent to Udaipur, have witnessed a sharp rise in the BTP’s popularity.

In western Rajasthan’s Marwar region, Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) is exploiting the unrest among the youths against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme for strengthening its position in the Jat community. This will directly impact Mr. Gehlot, who has been contesting election from Jodhpur’s Sardarpura constituency.

The Udaipur episode has come after a string of incidents of communal violence in the State in the past months. Following an undercurrent of communal tension, riots took place in Karauli on April 2 and clashes broke out in Mr. Gehlot’s home turf of Jodhpur on May 2. Communal tension also gripped Bhilwara twice in May. The police launched a special drive for crackdown on the communal elements.

According to political observers, the Udaipur incident may give rise to a competitive politics, in which the rival parties will mobilise their core constituencies. With the Assembly election drawing nearer, the use of communal card may emerge as an easy way to earn political dividends.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 4:44:45 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/udaipur-murders-political-ramifications-pose-challenge-to-gehlot/article65593347.ece