In the last five years, Congress leader Sis Ram Ola seldom visited his constituency due to ill health, but fulfilled most of the promises he made to his voters in 2009. He passed away in December 2013.
One of his promises was to set up an Army School in Jhunjhunu, which was inaugurated around a year ago. His second promise of setting up an army cantonment near Khetri, is under planning stage.
The only word he could not keep was bringing water to Jhunjhunu from western Yamuna Canal. He had been promising about it in the last five elections he contested, but could not fulfill it.
One of the criticisms against him was he only paid attention in the areas where Jats and Muslims — the traditional Congress votebank — were in majority.
Ramniranjan Purohit district BJP president alleged: “Sis Ram Ola only catered to his own voters and ignored those who opposed him. That is why most of the work done with his MPLAD fund was in rural areas dominated by Jats and Muslim community and mostly ignored cities and towns in his constituency.”
Ola spent most of the MPLAD fund on community works like rural roads, water supply and setting up community halls in the eight assembly constituencies falling under his area.
Jats dominate Jhunjhunu parliamentary seat followed by Rajputs, Muslims, Kayamkhanis, Malis, Gurjars and SCs. Ola consistently won the seat due to the combined support he received from Jats, Muslims and Malis. “Sisram Ola used to work through his personal networks, as he knew most of the families in the area. He was in politics since 1952. His death has created a big void in local politics, which may not be filled for many years. Though people are sympathetic to Ola family, his death has given an opportunity to BJP to establish its hold in this constituency,” Nemichand Jain, a local resident of Jhunjhunu said.
In the last two polls, BJP had relied on Rajput candidate, but could not win against the stalwart Jat leader. This time again BJP is considering names such as former Army chief VK Singh, Jat leader from Haryana Satpal Malik, MLA Santosh Ahlawat and Prem Singh Bajore, but no final decision has been taken yet. However, this time, it may not remain a direct fight between Congress and BJP as Aam Aadmi Party has fielded retired general Raj Kadyan as its candidate. But formidable opposition may come from independent MLA from Nawalgarh Rajkumar Sharma, who is also intending to fight Lok Sabha election. Sharma has considerable following in all castes across Jhunjhunu district.
“If the BJP brings an outsider as its candidate, the fight will be only between Rajbala Ola and Rajkumar Sharma,” Mangu Singh Shekhawat, a local journalist said.