Congress, BJP line up top leaders in Rajasthan for Dholpur bypoll
More than 50 senior leaders of BJP and opposition Congress are camping in the district for more than 12 days.Updated: Mar 30, 2017 08:18 IST
It’s raining politicians in Dholpur. The assembly seat in chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s home turf is set for a bypoll on April 9 and its outcome is likely to decide which way the political momentum in the state shifts.
Apart from six ministers, more than 50 senior leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition Congress are camping in the district for more than 12 days. The list includes state presidents of both parties — Ashok Parnami (BJP) and Sachin Pilot (Congress).
Never before has an election of a legislator, whose tenure will be of only 21 months as state elections in Rajasthan are due in 2018, generated so much heat.
Raje, who was married into the Dholpur royal family, also stayed in the district for two days, but didn’t make any public contact. The election will not make a major change in the composition of the assembly, where BJP has a more than comfortable majority of 160 seats against 24 legislators of Congress.
Leaders, however, say it’s an issue of prestige for Raje and Pilot. The bypoll was necessitated following the conviction of sitting MLA BL Kushwaha in a murder case.
Raje would want to win the election as a referendum of her three years of government. Pilot, on the other hand, will like to prove that he is the leader who can steer the party to a win and emerge as a possible CM candidate in the next polls.
BJP has fielded Kushwaha’s wife, Shobha Rani, who joined the party on February 15.
The Congress has bet its fortunes on Banwari Lal Sharma, the 77-year-old veteran who has to his credit five assembly victories.
“For BJP, Dholpur bypoll is all about money and caste-based politics. It can be seen in the way they gave ticket to a convict’s wife, who also has cases against her. The government machinery is being misused,” said Pilot.
He added that BJP was violating the code of conduct for which the Congress has complained to the Election Commission.
Pilot, who has covered over 90 villages in the past seven days, said people in Dholpur were feeling cheated. Despite being the CM’s backyard, Dholpur lacks development, he added. “People have decided to teach her a lesson by supporting Congress. We will win this election,” he said.
Parnami, on the other hand, thinks the party has the momentum of UP, Uttarakhand and Goa win going for it.
“The party organisation is taking the bypolls seriously and will certainly win the Dholpur seat. We have made teams of active workers till booth level, who will move from door-to-door and tell people about the achievements of the state and the central governments,” he said.
First Published: Mar 30, 2017 06:57 IST