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Rashpal Singh, Hindustan Times
Jaipur, March 30, 2014
Former Union minister Jaswant Singh's expulsion from the BJP after he decided to contest from Barmer as independent has left the state unit wary of his support base among various communities. The worries have been fuelled by Singh's statement on Sunday which read, "I am deeply saddened …. this decision lacks transparency, honesty and courtesy of appropriate communication, I am obliged to question the decision."

He further added, "To cover this decision, the party has attempted to cast doubt over my 'winnability', and discredit my record, be it over Ashok Gehlot in 1989, or twice in Chittorgarh and most recently in Darjeeling".

The Singh camp has already got active and has termed CM Vasundhara Raje's visit to Barmer on March 28 as the violation of election code.

Read: BJP expels defiant Jaswant Singh for 6 years

Jaswant Singh, sitting MP from Darjeeling, is backed by Rajput, Kalvi, Rajpurohit, Raberi and minority communities in the area and this has increased worries of the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership. Jats are the most dominating caste in the region but they are likely to be divided between the Congress and the BJP candidates.

"The Pir Pagaro sect factor can swing major chunk of vote in Singh's favour. Sindhi-Muslim community in the region generally votes as per the diktat of the sect head based in Pakistan. The diktat is delivered through local representative of the sect based in Jaisalmer and Singh enjoys good repute with the sect" said Arun Kumar Jagani, a political observer in Jaisalmer. Barmer parliamentary constituency straddles both Barmer and Jaisalmer districts.

Read: BJP has lost its vision for temporary gain, says Jaswant

Sensing trouble on the seat, Raje visited the area on March 28 and even went to Jasol, Singh's home town. The CM visited three religious places including Rani Bhatiyani temple run by Jasol family trust. (Singh belongs to Jasol clan) Raje met Singh's nephew and trust head Raval Kishan Singh for about 20 minutes and had closed room chat. She has even directed party legislators from Barmer and Jaisalmer to make sure victory of party candidate Col (retd) Sonaram Chaudhary, former Congress leader. The legislators were threatened with "disciplinary action" if Chaudhary gets less response from assembly constituencies.

But Raje's visit was not without its low. She faced sloganeering from Singh supporters at Jasol helipad and later at the temple premises where Rajputs expressed their displeasure for denial to ticket to Singh.

Kshatriya Yuvak Sangh (Rajput youth organisation) chief Bhagwan Singh Rolsahabsar has been camping in Barmer and Jaisalmer ever since Singh filed his nomination. "We will ensure he gets maximum support from all communities and castes" he said.

Read: Jaswant Singh takes a dig at BJP's 'NaMo' chant

To counter Singh's clout, the party is also planning to hold rallies of senior party leaders including prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and party president Rajnath Singh in Barmer for which schedule is being prepared.

Unfazed by suspension, Singh said he expected this and hoped to emerge victorious. Singh is contesting Lok Sabha polls from Barmer for first time. Earlier, he contested from Chittorgarh and Jodhpur.

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