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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Jul 2014

Caste equation and not development is the key in Barmer

Mukesh Mathrani  Barmer, March 24, 2014
First Published: 18:59 IST(24/3/2014) | Last Updated: 20:35 IST(24/3/2014)

Barmer is one of the 25 parliamentary constituencies in Rajasthan. Geographically it is the biggest parliamentary constituency of India. Barmer constituency, made of two districts Barmer and Jaisalmer, contains eight assembly constituencies. Of these seven are in Barmer district, Barmer, Sheo, Pachpadra, Chohtan (SC), Siwana, Gudamalani and Baytu and one in Jaisalmer district, which is Jaisalmer. The total number of voters in Barmer parliamentary constituency is 16, 63,873.

Till date, out of total 15 general elections, Congress won the maximum, nine elections. The BJP won only one in 2004. Apart from BJP and Congress, elections were won by independent candidates in 1952 and 1957, Ram Rajya Parishad in 1962, Bharatiya Lok Dal in 1977 and Janata Dal in 1989 in Barmer.

In 2009, Congress reposed faith in a new face, Harish Choudhary. He proved the party leadership right and won the election. He defeated BJP’s Manvendra Singh by a margin of 1, 19,106 votes. Earlier he was active in student politics and the party organisation.

The young Jat leader of the Congress created ripples when he defeated BJP’s Manvendra Singh.

After being elected as MP, Choudhary established himself as one of the leading names in state politics, especially in Jat politics of western Rajasthan. He got the post of Congress national secretary and his proximity to 10 Janpath caused jealousy among other Congress leaders.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/3/harish_choudhary_665px.jpg

On the other hand, after being defeated in the assembly election, the Congress is now trying to safeguard Barmer-Jaisalmer Lok Sabha seat, its fortress for years. The party has won nine out of 15 elections from this constituency.

At present the Congress holds only one assembly seat from assembly constituencies in the Barmer parliamentary constituency. In 2008 assembly elections the Congress had won six out of total seven seats in Barmer and one out of total two seat in Jaisalmer but in 2013 state assembly elections Congress had lost six out of seven assembly seats of Barmer and both two seats of Jaisalmer.

In state assembly elections Congress lost the seats. Party veterans like former revenue minister Hemaram Choudhary, former minority affairs minister Amin Khan and Col Sonaram Choudhary were defeated and left the poll battle.

Leaders like Hemaram Choudhary and Amin Khan, who are considered to be the base of the party in the region, have announced retirement from politics while the veterans like Abdul Hadi and VC Jain have died.

Those who were defeated in the polls accused other leaders of not supporting them. Three-time MP from Barmer parliamentary constituency Col Sonaram Choudhary recently left the Congress and jointed the BJP.  He had openly blamed Congress district president Fateh Khan for the defeat.

Jaswant Singh said he will contest election as an Independent candidate. Minority community may vote for him. Otherwise, the minoorty community is likely to vote for the Congress candidate. The community is not likely to vote for Sona Ram.

The constituency is dominated by Jats, Rajputs, scheduled castes and minority voters. Scheduled caste and minority community are considered to be the traditional vote bank of the Congress. Rajputs and Jats have a decisive role in the constituency, said Shankarlal Dhariwal, a political commentator,. He said people vote on the basis of caste, and development is not a major poll issue.


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