Former union minister and expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh has announced support for Subhash Maharia who is contesting as an independent candidate from Sikar seat after being denied election ticket by the saffron party.
Independent candidate from Barmer Jaswant Singh campaigns in Barmer constituency. (HT Photo)
In this coming together of rebels, observers believe Jaswant has in mind caste equations.
The BJP had chosen Congress turncoat Sonaram Choudhary, a Jat, as its candidate from the Barmer seat. Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje had persuaded the party leadership that Jats (numbering 3.5 lakh) are a dominant community in the region and Choudhary is likely to win.
The party had turned down 77-year-old Jaswant's request for an election ticket from Barmer, his native place. He was expelled from the party after he filed nomination papers as an independent candidate.
In Sikar, the BJP chose seer Sumedhanand Saraswati over Subhash Maharia, 57, a three-time MP and former union minister of state.
Maharia is also Jat. By supporting him, Jaswant is trying to win over Jats in his constituency and influence his Rajput sympathisers in Sikar.
In a letter, he has appealed the electorate in Sikar to vote for Maharia, saying his victory would benefit both the state and the nation.
"Jaswant ji has extended his support to Maharia on moral and political grounds," said a person managing the leader's election office.
Maharia, who has also been a member of BJP national executive, told HT, "I appreciate his blessings and support which has come at such a crucial time. He is a senior leader and this gesture means much to me."