Battleground Mewar, launch pad of Raje’s poll yatra, holds the key to Rajasthan assembly
In September 2013, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had launched Rajasthan’s poll campaign with a farmers’ and tribal rally at Salumber in Udaipur district. A month later, BJP’s the then prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, addressed a big rally in Udaipur that had set the tone for the assembly elections held two months laterUpdated: Aug 05, 2018, 22:52 IST
It is said that the party that wins Mewar – the tribal region of southern Rajasthan that accounts for 28 assembly seats – goes on to rule the state.
Since she became the chief minister for the first time in 2003, Vasundhara Raje has always started her election campaign from the Charbhuja temple in Rajsamand, one of the six districts in Udaipur division that constitute the Mewar region.
It’s not just the chief minister, but senior leaders of the BJP and the Congress have given importance to Mewar, known as the land of valiant Rajput rulers like Maharana Pratap.
In September 2013, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had launched Rajasthan’s poll campaign with a farmers’ and tribal rally at Salumber in Udaipur district. A month later, BJP’s the then prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, addressed a big rally in Udaipur that had set the tone for the assembly elections held two months later.
“Pura Rajasthan aham hai par yeh kah sakte hain ki Mewar sarkar banata hai (The whole state is important but one can say that Mewar makes the government),” said a BJP leader and prominent face of the party from the region.
The data from the past few elections supports the belief that Mewar plays a significant role in a party’s victory.
In 2003, the BJP won 22 out of 28 seats and the party comfortably formed the government. In 2008, the Congress returned to power, winning 20 seats in the Mewar region. In 2013, the BJP again swept the region and the state, winning nearly all the seats.
The 28 seats in Mewar are spread over six districts in Udaipur division – Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara, Pratapgarh, Rajsamand and Chittorgarh.
The importance of Mewar for the BJP could be gauged from the fact that the party has inducted five faces from the region in the cabinet. The state BJP general secretary (organisation), Chandrashekhar, recently went on a four-day tour of Udaipur division to assess the public mood in the region.
The RSS too is quite active in the region. In November 2016, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had inaugurated Maharana Pratap Gaurav Kendra in Udaipur where idols of 29 great personalities have been installed.
Some experts are of the view that this time the Mewar region will not vote for the ruling party.
“The Mewar is a symbol of dominance of feudalism that refers to dominance of caste and religion. So when political parties hold the belief that whoever wins Mewar will win the state, then it shows that the culture of feudalism is still persisting. BJP wants the support of Raja and Bhagwan by wooing the Rajputs and playing the religion card,” political analyst Rajiv Gupta said.
“But Mewar region also has a significant presence of tribal population and also of the Jain community who are basically traders. All these communities and also the labourers and the farming community are not happy with the ruling BJP. So, this time the Mewar belt will not vote for BJP,” he said.
The BJP is going all out to woo the Rajput community that is unhappy with the party. Rajasthan BJP president Madanlal Saini said people of Mewar are known for their valour and spirit of nationalism and party was confident that the community will vote for the BJP.