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In Alwar LS seat, it’s a fight between ‘outsider’ and local

In neighbouring Dwarkapur village, Sajjan Singh says the Rajputs are also supporting the BJP even though the Congress candidate is a Rajput.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 04, 2019 11:40 IST
Rakesh Goswami
Rakesh Goswami
Hindustan Times, ALWAR
Guru Gothdi,Alwar,Shakir Ali
In Alwar, which will go to poll on May 6 in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, it’s a fight between the outsider and the native. Congress’s Bhanwar Jitendra Singh is a native. BJP’S Mahant Balak Nath is an outsider.(HT Photo)

In Guru Gothdi village of Alwar, 27-year-old civil engineer Shakir Ali says the voting percentage in Meo Muslim-dominated villages will determine the result of the Lok Sabha election in Alwar constituency.

“If we are able to match the voting by Yadavs in Behror and Mundawar, then Bhanwar saab will win comfortably,” he adds.

In neighbouring Dwarkapur village, Sajjan Singh says the Rajputs are also supporting the BJP even though the Congress candidate is a Rajput. “I never saw Mahant Chand Nath [the former BJP MP who died in 2017]; I don’t know if we will ever see Mahant Balak Nath but we will still vote for the BJP because this election is about Modi, not the candidate,” he says.

In Alwar, which will go to poll on May 6 in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, it’s a fight between the outsider and the native. Congress’s Bhanwar Jitendra Singh is a native. BJP’S Mahant Balak Nath is an outsider.

After Jodhpur and Jaipur Rural, Alwar seems to be the most important political contest in Rajasthan.

“In four and a half years, Chand Nath never visited Alwar. People put up posters of him having gone missing. Now, his disciple is in the fray. People know he will also forget Alwar once elected, so they won’t fall for an outsider again,” says Jitendra Singh.

Balak Nath rejects the ‘outsider’ tag. “I was born in a village in Behror. How can anyone call me an outsider?” he asks.

Singh, 47, is from the erstwhile royal family of Alwar and is referred to as ‘raja’ in the constituency. And, Balak Nath, 35, is head of Baba Mastnath Math in Asthal Bohar in Rohtak district of Haryana. People in Alwar call him ‘babaji’.

“Where will we go looking for him in Haryana? Bhanwar saab is a local and will be available for us whenever we need him,” says Rajendra Meena, a schoolteacher.

But isn’t this election about Modi and not the candidate, you ask him and he says, “We need an MP for us. The PM won’t do anything for Alwar.”

Gagan Gupta, a Class 12 student of Shalimar Garden residential colony on the Bhiwadi road, will vote for the first time. “I don’t understand politics much but I know that Modiji has done good for the country,” he says, differing with his father who feels the Congress is a better choice. His father has a footwear shop in Alwar and says demonetisation affected small businessmen like him a great deal.

Alwar is a Yadav-dominated constituency. About 17% of the electors are Yadavs, followed by the scheduled castes and Muslims, both around 12%.

Balak Nath is a Yadav and is likely to gain considerably in the Yadav-dominated assembly segments of Behror, Mundawar and Kishangarh Bas.

Alwar parliamentary constituency has eight assembly segments of Tijara, Kishangarh Bas, Mundawar, Behror, Alwar Urban, Alwar Rural, Ramgarh and Rajgarh-laxmangarh. In December 2018 assembly elections, the Congress won three, BJP and BSP won two each and an Independent candidate got elected from Behror.

The BJP looks strong in three assembly segments – Behror, Mundawar, Kishangarh Bas and Alwar Urban – and the Congress seems to be surging ahead in the remaining four. The BSP candidate, Imran Khan, who initially seemed to be cutting into the Congress votes, now seems to be a non-factor.

Meanwhile, some BJP leaders, including an MLA, are also discreetly working for Jitendra Singh, choosing the native over the outsider.

Jitendra Singh’s mother Mahendra Kumari was a BJP MP from Alwar in 1991 and unsuccessfully contested the

1998 (Independent) and 1999 (Congress) elections. Jitendra Singh became an MP from here in 2009 after having been Alwar City MLA for two terms (1998 and 2003).

Mahant Chand Nath, Balak Nath’s guru, contested two Lok Sabha elections, losing in 2004 to Congress’ Karan Singh Yadav by 8,371 votes, and winning in 2014 by more than 200,000 votes.

First Published: May 04, 2019 11:40 IST

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