Influential Rajput body to oppose BJP in Rajasthan

Published on Apr 28, 2004 08:43 PM IST

The BJP in Rajasthan has suffered a major jolt with an influential Rajput group deciding to work against it in the parliamentary polls.

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PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Jaipur

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan has suffered a major jolt with an influential Rajput group deciding to work against it in the parliamentary elections.

The Rajput Arakshan Manch has stated that it is annoyed with the party for not giving reservations in government jobs to Rajputs despite party president M. Venkaiah Naidu promising to do so.

Manch leaders have said the ruling party has done nothing to act on the promise.

The Manch is one of the two main groups representing the community in the state. The other, Pratap Foundation, had earlier said it would oppose the BJP but backtracked a few days ago and issued a statement urging the community to vote for the party.

Manch convenor Mahaveer Singh Nathawat has criticised the Pratap Foundation for bowing to BJP pressure.

"It seems that the Pratap Foundation is issuing statements in favour of the BJP under some sort of pressure," he said.

Madhu Kanwar, convenor of the women's wing, said it would hold meetings in the state to ask the community not to vote for the BJP.

The division in the Rajput ranks could affect the BJP's poll prospects as it is a powerful, land owning community, comprising about 12 to 13 percent of the voters.

Rajputs have traditionally been BJP supporters in the state. The community had overwhelmingly supported the party in the December assembly polls in which the BJP won 120 out of 200 seats in the state.

They are a dominating force in regions like Barmer, Nagaur, Bhilwara, Udaipur and Jhunjhunu.

The desert state goes to the polls on May 5 to elect 25 MPs.

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