Rajasthan assembly polls: In her poll fortress Jhalarapatan, Vasundhara Raje on winning run since 2003
From 2003 onwards, Vasundhara Raje has not lost from Jhalarapatan assembly constituency. In the last Rajasthan assembly polls held in 2013, she registered her biggest victory from the seat, defeating Congress candidate Meenakshi Chandrawat by a big margin of over 60,000 votes.
The Jhalarapatan assembly constituency of Jhalawar district has remained an electoral fortress of chief minister Vasundhara Raje for one and a half decades.
When Raje was projected as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Rajasthan for the first time in 2003, she decided to contest from Jhalarapatan. She was earlier a Member of Parliament from Jhalawar, of which Jhalarapatan is an assembly segment.
From 2003 onwards, Raje has not lost from Jhalarapatan. In the last assembly polls held in 2013, she registered her biggest victory from the seat, defeating Congress candidate Meenakshi Chandrawat by a big margin of over 60,000 votes.
State Congress president Sachin Pilot’s mother Rama Pilot had lost to Raje in 2003, former Jhalarapatan MLA Mohanlal Rathore in 2008, and former Khanpur MLA Chandrawat in 2013. Raje’s victory margin increased with every assembly poll.
Of the 15 assembly polls held in Jhalarapatan since 1951, the Congress and the BJP won 7 times each, and an independent candidate in 1967.
Jhalarapatan was considered a Congress stronghold till the Emergency. The Jana Sangh and its reincarnation BJP made inroads after the Emergency. The Congress could win only twice in the nine assembly polls held in Jhalarapatan since 1977.
Raje has consolidated her position in Jhalarapatan on the basis of development works. She is likely to contest from the seat in the coming assembly polls, scheduled for the year-end. The Congress has not projected any face against Raje. It is not clear whether the party will field a local Congress leader or a parachute candidate.
The Jhalarapatan constituency comprises Muslims, Dalits, Rajputs, OBCs including Dhakars, Patidars, Dangis and Sondhiya Rajputs, and Gurjars, among others.
The constituency has around 50,000 Muslim voters, around 35,000 Dalits, about 20,000 Dhakars and Rajputs each, about 16,000 Dangi and Patidar voters each, around 15,000 Sondhiya Rajputs, around 12,000 Gurjars, and about 20,000 voters of other communities, including Brahmins and Vaishyas.
While Muslims and Dalits are considered the traditional voters of the Congress, Rajputs, Dhakars, Sondhiya Rajputs, Gurjars, Patidars and Dangis have voted for the BJP in the past.