Farmers, Gurjars, Rajputs could play spoilsport for BJP, Cong in Rajasthan bypolls
Even as the BJP and the Congress eye victory in three bypolls, farmers, Gurjars and Rajputs flex their muscles, which could upset the two parties’ electoral game planjaipur Updated: Dec 29, 2017 19:52 IST
Even as the BJP and the Congress eye victory in three bypolls, farmers, Gurjars and Rajputs flex their muscles, which could upset the two parties’ electoral game plan.
Elections to the Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha seats and Mandalgarh assembly constituency will be held on January 29, 2018 and results declared on February 1.
Rajputs are angry with the BJP since the encounter death of gangster Anandpal Singh in June. The community, which is politically influential and a traditional BJP vote bank, had staged protests demanding a CBI probe into the killing. Initially the CBI turned down the state’s request; after the state wrote to the Centre again citing the law and order situation, the case has been handed over to the CBI.
While the decision may come as a relief for the BJP, speculation that some Rajput outfits might field Anandpal’s mother in the Ajmer bypoll could add to the ruling party’s woes.
The Kisan Mahapanchayat plans to enter the fray that could square the circle for the BJP and Congress. Farmers are a crucial vote bank for all parties.
Rampal Jat, chief of the Kisan Mahapanchayat, said the organisation is mulling on which seat they should contest. The Kisan Mahapanchayat is an amalgam of 41 organisations and could garner a large support base among farmers.
Jat said he is likely to contest if the outfit decides to throw its hat in the ring. “Both BJP and Congress have only divided farmers on basis of caste and religion, and used them as vote banks but done nothing to solve their problems.”
The Mahapanchayat’s main demands are giving farmers 1.5 times the cost of production and waiver of from crop loans. “BJP had promised 1.5 times the cost of production to farmers but they have not even given the MSP rates for the 22 notified crops.”
Gurjars have said they will vote against the BJP for backtracking on its promise to give them 5% reservation. Gurjar leader Himmat Singh said the government has brought the Gurjar reservation bill three times but it got stuck in legal loopholes.
“Last time the Gurjars had voted for the BJP but this time we will vote against the party,” he said. Singh said they will invite Patidar leader from Gujarat Hardik Patel to campaign in Rajasthan.