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State ends love affair with outsiders

The 2009 parliamentary poll has thrown up an interesting trend in Rajasthan: The marginalisation of candidates who are “outsiders”. With the exception of Sachin Pilot (Congress candidate from Ajmer), the poll battles this time is being fought mainly among candidates who are residents of Rajasthan. Srinand Jha reports.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2009 00:11 IST
Srinand Jha

The 2009 parliamentary poll has thrown up an interesting trend in Rajasthan: The marginalisation of candidates who are “outsiders”. With the exception of Sachin Pilot (Congress candidate from Ajmer), the poll battles this time is being fought mainly among candidates who are residents of Rajasthan.

This is in contrast to previous elections when heavyweights and film stars belonging to other states had sought political sanctuary in the desert state.

Rajasthan has traditionally remained a fertile ground for “outsiders” in search of constituencies. In several elections since 1980, individuals of non-Rajasthani domicile have contested and won from the state.

Such individuals included former Union ministers Buta Singh, Balram Jakhar and the late Rajesh Pilot, besides others such as the late Devi Lal, film star Dharmendra, former BJP president Bangaru Laxman and his wife Sushila Bangaru Laxman.

The upcoming elections promise to be an all-Rajasthan affair, with even Sachin Pilot’s name not cropping up prominently.

Sachin’s father Rajesh Pilot contested his first parliamentary election from Rajasthan (Bharatpur constituency) and continued to represent the state from the Dausa constituency in several subsequent elections.

“Sachin’s status is that of a half-outsider, as he can be considered a second-generation migrant,” a veteran Rajasthan observer said.

Another “outsider” is Buta Singh, who is contesting as an Independent from Jalore as he has not been fielded by any recognised political party.

There had been many aspirants from the “outsider” community this time too, but both the Congress and the BJP refrained from the granting them tickets.

Amongst “outsiders” who failed to secure tickets from the state include Sukhbir Jaunpuria (Gujjar leader from Haryana), Gujarat businessman Sagar Raika, Sushila Bangaru and Sunil Jakhar (son of Balram Jakhar). Parvesh Singh, son of the late Sahib Singh Verma, was among the aspirants for the BJP ticket from Dausa.