Rajasthan Bypolls: Modi, Shah to campaign for BJP, no Rahul in Congress list
Conspicuous by their absence in the list released by BJP national president Amit Shah, are Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan Om Mathur and Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore.jaipur Updated: Jan 11, 2018 20:51 IST
The BJP seems to be taking no chances with the three by-polls in Rajasthan with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name finding place among the list of 40 star campaigners that was release by the party on Thursday.
Conspicuous by their absence in the list released by party national president Amit Shah, are Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan Om Mathur and Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore.
Mathur, a former party president, considered close to the Prime Minister and to Shah, and a known detractor of chief minister Vasundhara Raje while Rathore, a Rajput leader, is the only Union minister from Rajasthan who has been dropped from the list.
The other minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Arjum Ram Meghwal, PP Chaudhary and CR Chaudhary have been included in the list.
There has been a lot of speculation over the past four years about Raje being asked to step down. But the party’s central leadership seems to have given an indication that Raje alone is the face of the BJP in Rajasthan.
The Congress list of 40 star campaigners does not feature party president Rahul Gandhi’s name.
Along with prominent leaders such as state party president Sachin Pilot, former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former party president CP Joshi, there are seven former central ministers and six former state ministers in the list of campaigners.
By-polls to the Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha seats and Mandalgarh assembly seat will be held on January 29.
Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone for a refinery in Barmer’s Pachpadra on January 16.
Modi, however, might give the by-poll campaign a miss, said party sources. State BJP president Ashok Parnami said Modi is the party’s star campaigner but generally prime minister’s do not campaign in by-elections.
The BJP has also included party office bearers including Amit Shah and Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goel on the list.
The BJP has roped in four Rajputs leaders–Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and ministers of state Rajendra Rathore and Pushpendra Singh to woo the Rajputs who have been loyal BJP voters but are miffed with the government this time over the encounter of Anandpal Singh and the film Padmavati.
Rajputs have significant presence in the Mandalagrh assembly segment and the Ajmer Lok Sabha seat.
The Congress has four Rajput leaders and ten Jat leaders on its list. Jats have a significant presence in Ajmer and a fairly strong presence in Alwar. The BJP is making do with only three Jat leaders.
The BJP is also roping in Raje’s daughter-in-law, Niharika along with Kalulal Gurjar, Hemsingh Bhadana and Prahlad Gunjal to woo the Gurjars who have a strong presence in some constituencies in Ajmer. Given that Gurjars are likely to go with state Congress president Sachin Pilot, the BJP is taking no chances.