Sardarpura, the constituency of chief minister Ashok Gehlot, seems to bask in reflected glory. Never mind the slew of incomplete projects — the roads damaged to lay sewerage lines, the selective improvement of roads in bigger localities, the faulty water supply, the establishment of new colonies on agricultural land that are still awaiting proper drainage and electricity supply.
Ever since he won it in 1998, Sardarpura, in Jodhpur district, has stood by Gehlot. He has won this seat in the last three elections, but his winning margin is on a decline.
Drinking water is the most urgent problem of Sardarpura. “In the CM’s constituency, there is water supply on alternate days,” said Nain Kanwar, a BJP councillor of the Jodhpur Municipal Corporation. Sunny Arora, a college student, said, “Despite a second tenure as CM, he could not make his constituency problem-free.”
The caste equation of this constituency, which has more than 200,000 voters, is tailor-made for Gehlot. It has around 35,000 voters of the Mali community to which he belongs. In recent months, Gehlot has spent `3 crore on the development of each ward.
Rajendra Gehlot, a BJP leader, however, said: “Mega projects are okay, but he has to give attention to the local water and power supply.” This shortcoming is admitted across the board. Ataurehman Modi, a businessman, while agreeing that Gehlot may not have entirely succeeded on this front, draws attention to the CM “bringing institutes such as IIT and NIFT to his constituency”.
For many in Sardarpura, Gehlot can do no wrong. “He is handling the entire state, why blame him for small problems,” said Taruna Trivedi, a housewife.