Caste groups sore, Ajmer by-poll may not be a cakewalk for BJP
The by-election to the Ajmer Lok Sabha constituency following the death of Sanwar Lal Jat could be a tricky affair for the BJP as the party’s social engineering strategy is under strain, said experts.jaipur Updated: Aug 11, 2017 20:22 IST
The by-election to the Ajmer Lok Sabha constituency following the death of Sanwar Lal Jat could be a tricky affair for the BJP as the party’s social engineering strategy is under strain, said experts.
Though the BJP’s Jat leaders have begun lobbying for the ticket as the polls will have to be held within six months, the going will not be easy for the party.
“If the Congress puts up a united front, then it can defeat the BJP as the objective conditions are against the BJP,” political analyst Rajiv Gupta said. “The BJP’s carefully crafted social engineering is in danger. Rajputs are upset after Anandpal encounter, Jats are also angry as promises have not been kept, and Gujjars and Meenas are also not satisfied.”
The constituency is dominated by SC/STs, Jats, Muslims and Vaishyas. People of other castes that have a presence include Gujjars, Rawats, Brahmins and Rajputs.
Before the last delimitation, BJP’s Rasa Singh Rawat won the seat for five terms starting 1989, except for a brief Congress term in 1998-99. The last delimitation changed the scenario as Beawar, the assembly area dominated by the Rawats, was detached from Ajmer and merged with the neighbouring Rajsamand Lok Sabha seat, and Dudu assembly segment, dominated by SC/STs, was added to it.
The minority community in Ajmer is annoyed with the BJP, especially after the state education minister’s statement about renaming of Ajmer Fort. “Then, the cow vigilantes have created communal tension and alienated the minorities further,” Gupta said.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Ajmer seat became a battle of prestige between the BJP and the Congress as sitting MP Sachin Pilot was anointed the state Congress president a few months before the polls.
Riding on the Modi wave, BJP won all the 25 seats in Rajasthan; Sanwar Lal Jat defeated Pilot by a margin of more than 1,70,000 votes.
Another factor in the Ajmer by-election could be the Aam Aadmi Party should it decide to contest the polls. The AAP, which is in the process of building its organisation in Rajasthan, is yet to make up its mind and senior leaders are tight-lipped over contesting the by-election.
The BJP could field a kin of Sanwar Lal Jat to garner sympathy votes and will bank on the Modi factor for a win. By-elections can sometimes throw up surprising results as was the case in Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam in November 2015 where Congress candidate Kantilal Bhuria defeated the wife of late Dilip Singh Bhuria, who was the BJP MP.