With the Dholpur bypoll being just a day away, campaigning reached a feverish pitch on Friday — the last day of campaigning. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje conducted a road show to seek votes for BJP candidate Shoba Rani Kushwaha.
Never before has a legislator’s election, whose tenure will last a mere 21 months, generated so much heat. The Congress has even approached the Election Commission alleging misuse of government machinery by the BJP and threatening people to gain support.
Accompanying Raje on the road show, which began at Sagarpada, were her son and MP Dushyant Singh, state party chief Ashok Parnami and party ministers. Promising development and calling her “dulhan” (bride) of Dholpur, Raje appealed for votes for Shoba Rani.
Before starting the road show, Raje moved from door-to-door to gain support for her party’s candidate. “The Congress has fielded a person who has contested 10 elections and has won five times, whereas the BJP has always believed in giving a chance to different individuals,” Raje said.
The road show witnessed huge crowds throughout.
On Thursday, Sachin Pilot and Congress leaders and workers had held a road show in support of their candidate Banwari Lal Sharma.
The bye-election was necessitated after the seat fell vacant on termination of the membership of BL Kushwah following conviction and life imprisonment in a murder case in December last year. Shoba Rani is BL Kushwah’s wife. As many as 15 candidates, including 12 independents, are in the fray for the bypoll.
For nearly a month, Dholpur had become the camping ground for the who’s who of Rajasthan politics - over half a dozen ministers from the ruling party and senior party leaders held rounds of public meetings. The Congress too left no stone unturned to campaign for Sharma, a five times MLA from Dholpur.
Interestingly, nothing much is going to change inside the house. BJP has a clear majority with 160 MLAs, while Congress has 24 seats after winning three through bypolls in 2014. But after the saffron party’s win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Dholpur by-poll has become a prestige issue for the party in Rajasthan.
The Dholpur assembly constituency has around 1.72 lakh voters including 38,000 Kushwaha, Jatav (26,000), Muslim (16000), Brahmin (26000), Baghels (8000), Lodhi Rajputs (12000), Tyagi (8000), Gujjar (8000) and Jat (2000).