Parties pad up for ‘semi-finals’ in Rajasthan

BJP candidate Jaswant Singh Yadav from Alwar

BJP candidate Jaswant Singh Yadav from Alwar  

Crucial byelections big test for Congress and BJP before Assembly elections due this year

Battle lines have been drawn for the byelections in Rajasthan later this month, with both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition Congress announcing their candidates for the Alwar and the Ajmer Lok Sabha seats, and the Mandalgarh Assembly seat.

Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress filed his nomination papers from Alwar on Monday.

Polling will be held on January 29 for the three seats, all held by the BJP. Sanwar Lal Jat, Ajmer MP, collapsed at a meeting in Jaipur and died on August 9, while Mahant Chand Nath, Alwar MP, died on September 17 following a prolonged illness. Kirti Kumari, Mandalgarh MLA, died of swine flu on August 28.

For the Alwar seat, State Labour Minister Jaswant Singh Yadav has been declared the BJP candidate. As a local heavyweight representing Behror in the Assembly, he expects to get support from the dominant Yadav community in the constituency, while the professional qualifications of both the BJP and Congress nominees as doctors will play as subtext.

Caste equations

Dr. Karan Singh Yadav, former Superintendent of Sawai Man Singh Government Hospital in Jaipur, was elected MP from Alwar in 2004, when he defeated Mr. Chand Nath. He is a two-time MLA from Behror. In addition to the Yadavs, he expects to get support from significant sections of the Meo, Dalit and Brahmin communities.

Rampal Jat, Kisan Mahapanchayat patron and former BJP leader, has also announced his plans to contest from Alwar, saying that his presence would help bring farmers’ issues to the centre stage of the poll campaign.

The BJP has announced Ramswarup Lamba, son of former MP Sanwar Lal Jat, as its candidate for Ajmer, while the Congress has fielded the former MLA Raghu Sharma.

Mr. Lamba expects to get “sympathy votes”, especially in rural areas where people hold his father in high esteem for his role in bringing drinking water from the Bisalpur dam in Tonk district.

Mr. Raghu Sharma, who hails from Ajmer district, has been associated with the Congress since his student days.

He was also the Pradesh Congress spokesperson for a long time and contested the Lok Sabha election from Jaipur in 1999, but lost.

Shakti Singh Hada of the BJP and Vivek Dhakar of the Congress will fight for the Mandalgarh Assembly seat in Bhilwara district. While the BJP seems to have played the Rajput card to get the sympathy of voters after Ms. Kirti Kumari’s death, Mr. Dhakar, son of a former Zila Pramukh, expects to benefit from the caste equations in the constituency, considered a Congress bastion.

Uphill battle

With the BJP facing an uphill battle in the bypolls, which are also being viewed as a semi-final for the Assembly elections due this year, other factors like resentment among various caste groups, farmers and traders are also likely to provide an opportunity to the Congress.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 12:25:24 AM |

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