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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Victory in Ramgarh bypoll a vote of confidence: Congress

The Congress won the Ramgarh assembly seat in Rajasthan in the bypoll held on January 28. Its candidate Shafia Zubair Khan won with a margin of 12,228 votes over the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2019 13:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Alwar/Jaipur
(FROM LEFT) Jitendra Singh,  Congress candidate Shafia Khan and her husband Zubair Khan celebrate Shafia’s victory in Ramgarh polls, on  Thursday, January 31, 2019.
(FROM LEFT) Jitendra Singh, Congress candidate Shafia Khan and her husband Zubair Khan celebrate Shafia’s victory in Ramgarh polls, on  Thursday, January 31, 2019. (HT Photo)

The ruling Congress in Rajasthan termed the party’s victory in the Ramgarh poll a vote of confidence by the people who have supported its president Rahul Gandhi’s agenda for farmers.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot said the people in Ramgarh “took the right decision at the right time” and the party will now focus on winning all 25 seats in the state in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“Just three days ago, Gandhi spoke about minimum income for the poor, which is a revolutionary idea. The public has endorsed it,” Gehlot told reporters in Jaipur.

The party on Thursday touched the halfway mark in the 200-member state assembly with its candidate Shafia Zubair Khan defeating her BJP rival Sukhwant Singh by 12,228 votes in Ramgarh (part of Alwar parliamentary constituency), polling for which was held on January 28.

Zubair secured 44.77% votes against Singh’s 38.20%, according to the state election department. Bahujan Samaj Party’s Jagat Singh secured 13.36% votes. There were a total of 20 candidates in the fray, 18 of whom lost their security deposit.

With Thursday’s result, the Congress now has 100 MLAs in the House and its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has one MLA. The BJP has 73 members in the assembly.

The winning MLA said that the people had grown “tired of the communal politics”. “This verdict is against casteism and communal forces,” Shafia Zubair Khan said.

She also said the women had been facing problems due to the lack of water in the constituency. “The previous (BJP) government took away the powers from the hands of the panchayats to allow borings (tunneling or drilling holes in search of water). Schools were closed in the area,” she said.

In a meeting held in Alwar, Khan, former Union minister Jitendra Singh, Congress MLA Johari Lal Meena, and former MLA Krishan Murari Gangawat thanked the people, and urged party workers to ensure Congress’ victory in the coming general elections, due likely in April-May.

Deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot alleged the BJP had tried to polarise the communities along religious and caste lines before the elections, but failed.

“This is a vote of confidence yet again by the people of Rajasthan towards the Congress party. It was the first election after the government’s formation and the result is an indication that the BJP has lost the support they had,” Pilot said.

“I thank the people of Ramgarh who have restored their faith and confidence by making the party win the seat,” he added.

He also said that the party has started its preparations for the Lok Sabha elections and exuded confidence that the Congress will win all 25 seats in the state.

“The BJP has already lost support. People have showed faith in the Congress and the party will form government at the Centre,” he said.

He further noted that the party has won 23 of the 24 bypolls held across the country in the last five years. “The BJP’s vote base is continuously shrinking and the result of Ramgarh poll is an indication for the upcoming elections,” he said.

BJP’s losing candidate Sukhwant Singh accepted the verdict, saying he “honours the people’s mandate”. Former MLA from Ramgarh, Gyan Dev Ahuja, said, “We thank the party workers for their efforts. Our candidate got a good number of votes.”

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Feb 01, 2019 12:55 IST