Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) President Ram Vilas Paswan extended support to the Gujjar community's demand for ST status and demanded that the Vasundhara Raje government be dismissed and President’s Rule be imposed in the state.
Addressing a rally in the industrial township of Bhilwara, Paswan also pitched for the “third alternative” and said political parties who played vote-politics were as much to blame as those who played the religious card. He said that the time had come for parties such as the LJP to take centre-stage in states like Rajasthan.
A fortnight ago, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav - accompanied by party general secretary Amar Singh and Jaya Bachchan - had addressed a rally at Bhilwara, while Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati is scheduled to visit the area.
The reason for the leaders to make a beeline for Bhilwara is this: While it is the epicentre of the politically dominant Mewar region, it is also an industrial hub with an annual turnover of Rs.10,000 crore. Bhilwara produces 5 crore meters of cloth per month. Between themselves, the Mewar and Mewat regions account for 82 of the total of 200 assembly seats of Rajasthan.
In the immediate aftermath of the Emergency in 1975, socialist parties had a strong presence in Rajasthan. Over the last few months, both the BSP and the LJP have been making a concerted bid to cash in on the perceived disenchantment of voters with both the BJP and Congress in the two Hindi speaking states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Paswan and Mayawati have been extensively touring the two states.
Although the LJP has only one MLA in the present Rajasthan assembly, Paswan said it would not be a surprise if the party forms the next government in the state.