It is 8.30 pm and National People’s Party patron Kirori Lal Meena is addressing a group of villagers in Binderwada village in Sikandra, 25 km from Dausa, his last few public meetings in Dausa parliamentary constituency before he retires for the day.
Women welcome him with a traditional song as men tie the customary safa. When people settle down, he asks, “What does the Bhagwad Gita say?”
Then adds, “Adharm ka...?” “Vinaash ho...” murmurs the crowd. “Dharm ka....?” “Vikaas ho....” replies the crowd.
“So a brother fighting a brother, isn’t it adharm?” he asks, then goes on, “I request you to press the button on the symbol of my party, the book which is akin to the Bhagwad Gita, and defeat this adharm.
This is Kirori Meena’s pitch against his opponents Namo Narain Meena of the Congress and Harish Chandra Meena of the BJP who are not only political rivals but also brothers. He tells people he has been with them through thick and thin, staged dharnas for them, fought against injustice with them.
Dausa parliamentary constituency in eastern Rajasthan, which was once nursed by the late Rajesh Pilot, father of present state Congress chief Sachin Pilot who also later represented the constituency, has little to show in terms of development.
While Kirori Meena is a known face and around 60% of the Meena vote is still with him, he cannot take them for granted any longer.
Harish Meena, former Rajasthan DGP and newly-inducted in the BJP, is trying to play the development card.
As a new face in politics and the constituency, he has had to find acceptance in the party as well as among the voters. But his ready wit and practical approach seem to help him connect with people.
Exchanging his police uniform for the politicians’ white kurta-pyjama, he has been touring the constituency telling people Kirori Meena has exploited them and is responsible for their backwardness.
He tells a gathering in Lalsot, where chief minister Vasundhara Raje addressed an election meeting, that Kirori Meena has not brought development or jobs and that the youth have been left with no option but to take to petty crimes.
Then he brings up the trump card — BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. “The country needs a strong leader like Modi. He will lead the country out of the morass it has fallen into,” he says as the people murmur their assent.
Congress’s Namo Narain Meena, a former IPS officer, was denied the party ticket from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur where he was sitting MP but later accommodated in Dausa.
In Paota village, he holds forth an election meeting on the accomplishments of the Congress government. “The Congress has brought in so many welfare schemes for people. We have given roads, electricity, free food, free medicine, pensions, RTI, MNREGA. Congress is the only party that cares for the people.”
While Congress loyalists lap that up, others are talking of change and Modi. They see Modi as the answer to all their problems.