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Kataria shift nudges caste equation

BJP sprung a surprise by changing the constituency of the Leader of the Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria from Badi Sadari to Udaipur city.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2003 17:51 IST

The BJP sprung a surprise by changing the constituency of the Leader of the Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria from Badi Sadari to Udaipur city. But the party has tampered with the caste and community equations with no Brahmin candidate finding any place in the list for the three general seats in the district. The ostensible reason for this might have been necessitated by the fielding of two woman candidates from Udaipur by the party.

Former municipal chairman and State Mahila Morcha president Kiran Maheshwari was the front-runner for the Udaipur City seat. But with the party already clearing the name of former Zila Pramukh Vandana Meena for the Udaipur Rural seat, there was much opposition to the nomination of another woman candidate from the city.

Though rumour mills were agog with the shifting of Kataria to Udaipur, he had been consistently denying such reports as unfounded. Only a few days ago, he said that he favoured the present seat of Badi Sadari as it was one of the three seats that the BJP was able to retain, of the 30 seats in Udaipur division, despite the Congress wave in the last Assembly elections.

The move has taken the Congress by surprise. The Congress is believed to have almost cleared the name of sitting MLA Trilok Purbia. Now it has been learnt that the party is in two minds. With the nomination of Kataria, a Bania by caste, the Bania lobby in the Congress has become active saying that only a Bania could give a stiff fight to Kataria. Trilok Purbia belongs to the OBC. They also argue that it is also necessary that Kataria be locked in a stiff fight so that he is left with little time for campaigning in other parts of the State.

Kataria also has to cope with the severe infighting in the party in his home district. He had to shift base to Badi Sadari fearing the opposition of the Brahmin lobby in the party. He came out victorious in the 1977 and 1980 Assembly elections from the Udaipur City seat, defeating the Congress party's Heeralal Devpura and Sheshmal Paharia respectively. However, he had to bite the dust in the 1985 elections against Girija Vyas which forced him to shift from Udaipur to Chittorgarh.

However, the BJP has tampered with the community equation. With the shifting of Kataria to Udaipur, the Brahmins were left with no representation. Of the three general seats in the district, Ballabhnagar has gone to Randhir Singh Bhinder, a Rajput.

With the party clearing the name of Shantilal Chaplot, another Bania, for the Mavli general seat and Kataria for the Udaipur City, the Brahmin community is left with no seat in the district.

First Published: Nov 07, 2003 17:48 IST