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Rajasthan assembly elections 2018: BJP harps on development in ex-CM Ashok Gehlot’s bastion Sadarpura

Ashok Gehlot, who is the general secretary of All India Congress Committee and was the chief minister of Rajasthan twice, is the MLA from Sadarpura assembly constituency and could possibly be the party’s CM candidate in the upcoming assembly elections as well.

rajasthan elections 2018 Updated: Sep 12, 2018 14:18 IST
Dinesh Bothra
Dinesh Bothra
Hindustan Times, Jodhpur
rajasthan assembly elections 2018,rajasthan elections 2018,sadarpura assembly constituency
Former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and senior Congress leader is the sitting MLA from Sadarpura assembly constituency. (HT File Photo )

An important urban assembly area of western Rajasthan, Sardarpura, was wrested by the Congress in the past four assembly elections, with the winning candidate being Ashok Gehlot. In the previous assembly election in 2013, he defeated BJP candidate Shambhu Singh Khetasar by 18,478 votes.

Gehlot who is the general secretary of All India Congress Committee and was the chief minister of Rajasthan twice, could possibly be the party’s CM candidate in the upcoming assembly elections as well. The Congress has not projected any CM face so far. Since Gehlot started contesting from the constituency, no other candidate has ever demanded a ticket.

The caste equation of Sardarpura assembly constituency helped Gehlot in the past four elections. It is a different matter that when he won the seat for the first time in the by-election after becoming the chief minister in 1999, he got record number of votes. But the margin of victory fell in the subsequent elections.

According to political observers, the majority of voters in Sardarpura belong to the Mali community, followed by Muslim and Rajput voters. Jats, other OBCs and general caste voters also influence the victory. They believe that Mali and Muslim vote banks play an effective role in the result.

It will be challenging for the BJP to win this “safe seat” of the Congress that banks on Gehlot’s personal influence in the area. The BJP has fielded different candidates in the past four elections and is yet to announce its candidate for the upcoming elections.

The BJP’s candidate in the previous elections, Shambhu Singh Khetasar, says that the elections will be fought on the issue of development in Sardarpura. “The construction of a road overbridge has been completed and the work of a second one has started. In the assembly area, the hospital located at BZS Colony has been upgraded. The mood of the people is in favour of the BJP,” he says.

Congress district president (city), Sayeed Ansari, says, “If the BJP is eyeing the Sardarpura assembly constituency, it is a mistake.” He claimed that in the upcoming elections, the BJP will face defeat in other seats of Jodhpur city as well.

“In the past four-and-a-half years, the BJP government ignored the entire Jodhpur city, not just Sardarpura. Jodhpur was deprived of the smart city scheme due to being the hometown of the former CM. The public knows the truth and will teach them a lesson in the elections,” he says.

First Published: Sep 12, 2018 14:17 IST