It is well past 6 pm. But there is no power at Alwar town’s Motinagar. The darkness is broken by headlamps of jeeps, which show a near-deserted meeting venue. But it leaves the speaker in the dark. Finally, an aide shines his smartphone on the face of Bhanwar Jitendra Singh, Union minister and scion of the Alwar royal family, who represents the constituency in the Lok Sabha.
The MP, who insists on being called Jitendra Singh — “Bhanwar was a nickname that stuck” — is canvassing for Narender Sharma, candidate from the Alwar (urban) seat.
“Aapne mujhe ek haath se ladai karne ke liye bhej diya. Mujhe toh jeeta diya, par MLA nahi diya (I am fighting one-armed since you did not give me an MLA the last time),” he tells the little group. “If we have more MLAs, more work can be done. It will help in quicker implementation of projects and funds for central schemes will be utilised properly.”
“I stand guarantee. I will personally ensure that Sharma does your work,’’ he adds.A Congress victory in the assembly segments of his constituency is important for Singh. Not only would it salvage his prestige, it would also bolster his prospects for the 2014 Parliament polls.
On way to Vivekanand Nagar, the cavalcade is stopped by a group of locals and an impromptu meeting ensues. “Last time you didn’t vote for the Congress, help us this time,” he tells them.
At Vivekanand Nagar, an unauthorised settlement which mushroomed on agricultural land, he has work to showcase. “You remember the condition in these colonies and how we got things improved. Still, sewerage and potable water are pending. I have got this place so many Central projects, but the basic amenities can only be taken care of by the local MLA,” he tells the crowd.
High drama awaits him at the next two venues. At one, supporters of the National People’s Party resort to fervent slogan shouting. Later, at a school, a resident grabs the mike from Congress supporters to grumble about drinking water supply.
“No one can match what I have done for my constituency in the last five years,” Singh says proudly as he settles down in the car. “I have improved highway infrastructure, built a hospital and a medical college and secured sanction for rapid rail transit system.”
A quick bite and he is off again —hopefully for the last meeting of the day.