At a time the BJP is hoping to win all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the Barmer parliamentary constituency has become a prestige issue for Bharatiya Janata Party and chief minister Vasundhara Raje after Jaswant Singh decided to fight the polls as an independent.
Vasundhara Raje and Jaswant Singh. (HT Photo)
In her bid to ensure the Col Sonaram Chowdhary’s victory, the party has of late started sending a number of popular leaders, who have caste-based support base in the region, one after another to Barmer. Even the party’s prime ministerial candidate and BJP’s face for 2014 elections Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Barmer on April 12.
Commenting on this development, Jaswant Singh said: “Raje has forgotten BJP’s mission-25 and is now focusing on mission-Barmer.”
On Friday while inaugurating his election office in Barmer Singh said, “I heard Rani has deputed dozen MLAs in Barmer. Please welcome them, give them full respect and then send them back,” he told his supporters.
Since, Jaswant Singh is a Rajput, chances are high that the Rajputs might vote for him. To counter this, BJP has planned Lokendra Singh Kalvi’s, a Rajput leader, visit to Barmer. Kalivi had contested Lok Sabha election from Barmer in 1998 on a BJP ticket and has considerable support in the region. In order to woo minority voters, party has planned Yunis Khan’s visit to Barmer and to gather the support of Jain community the party might send Gulabchand Kataria. Party leader Aotaram Devasi and Kishnaram Nai’s visit have also been planned.
BJP leadership in the state is aware of the fact that though a big section of local BJP workers are not coming out in open but they are supporting Jaswant Singh. The party had recently expelled four leaders for supporting Jaswant Singh.
Meanwhile, some BJP leaders have already reached Barmer and are holding a series of meetings with members of their caste. Even chief minister Vasundhara Raje has visited Barmer twice. She was present during Sonaram’s nomination filing ceremony on March 25 and again on March 28 for a rally.
Party’s Ajmer MLA Vasudev Devnani, who belongs to the Sindhi community, landed in Barmer on Friday and urged the community members to support Sonaram. Similarly, Onkar Singh Lakhwat also did the same. On Thursday too, another BJP leader Surendra Goyal visited Barmer for the same drill. Next in line is energy minister Gajendra Singh Khinwsar.