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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Akharas become favourite vote hunting ground for politicians in Rajasthan

Abhinav  SUMEL (SAWAI MADHOPUR), April 23, 2014
First Published: 23:27 IST(23/4/2014) | Last Updated: 23:37 IST(23/4/2014)

Akharas have suddenly become a favourite hangout of the politicians this poll season. And the reason is not far to seek.

“For them, it’s an easy way to connect with the masses, as people of all age groups, castes and religions come to watch Kushti Dangal at the akharas (wrestling ground),” a villager said on condition of anonymity.

“And it’s not just youth, even elderly people having good influence on their caste come to see the wrestling events.”

The wrestling sport, popularly called Kushti Dangal, is a traditional sports event organised by the locals in the area.

The locals say several politicians come here to campaign or hold political meetings, especially during election time, to seek votes.

This is mostly done clandestinely, without keeping the local authorities in the loop.

According to the ECI’s model code of conduct for the guidance of political parties and candidates, the party or candidate have to inform the local police authorities of the venue and time of any proposed meeting well in time so as to enable the police to make the necessary arrangements for controlling traffic and maintaining peace and order.

Prodded further, he says the politician was Sukhbir Singh Jaunapuria, BJP candidate from Tonk Sawai Madhopur.
Jaunapuria, however, refuted the charges vehemently.

“I had gone to a nearby village, not the place where wrestling was organised,” he said.
The same villager confided: “So far, at least twenty politicians have come to the akharas to watch Kushti Dangal and speak to the people here.”

Dangal is an annual sporting event organised mainly in villages of Sawai Madhopur, Alwar and Bharatpur region in the honour of a local deity.


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