The Jhalarapatan constituency in Jhalawar has been the bastion of the former Rajasthan CM and the current state BJP president, Vasundhara Raje. Prior to becoming MLA from Jhalarapatan for the first time in 2003, she had been elected member of parliament from Jhalawar on five consecutive occasions. Her son Dushyant Singh now represents the Jhalawar-Baran constituency for the BJP in the Lok Sabha.Raje supporters point to her development initiatives — the sanctioning of the Ramganjmandi-Bhopal railway line project to ensure railway connectivity to Jhalawar, the establishment of the Jhalawar Medical College, the mini-secretariat, its sports complex and several drinking water and irrigation projects.
Critical voters point to another story. Ashok Sharma, a trader, said colleges and hospitals notwithstanding, “she failed to bring investment in the private sector to accelerate Jhalawar’s growth”. Munna Khan, another voter, said she had been unable to generate “employment opportunities and address poor people’s issues”. Many people, however, vouched for her “personal touch”.
The Congress, however, underlines that Raje remained elusive after winning elections here. In the last five years, she is believed to have visited her constituency once in six months.
Jhalarapatan was considered a Congress-dominated seat till the advent of Raje in Jhalawar politics in 1989. Since she became MP of Jhalawar, the Congress could win the Jhalarapatan seat only once, in 1998. In the upcoming elections, will they keep her faith?