Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Congress, BJP to be in direct contest in Rajasthan’s Hadoti region
Despite returning to power in Rajasthan, the Congress faces a stiff challenge from the BJP in the Hadoti region in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
The Kota division, which overlaps with the Hadoti region, comprises parts of Jhalawar, Kota, Baran and Bundi districts. Chambal river is the main water source and lifeline of Hadoti region.
The Kota division, which has two parliamentary constituencies — Kota-bundi and Jhalawar-baran — has been a saffron bastion since the Jan Sangh days.
The Congress and the BJP have, however, won seven times each in the total 16 Lok Sabha polls held for the Kota-Bundi parliamentary seat. Jana Sangh, supported by the Ram Rajya Parishad, and the Janata Party won once each.
In the last two decades, the Congress has won only once from the seat. The BJP has won three times.
Om Birla is the sitting BJP MP from the Kota-bundi seat. His rival, former Congress MP Ijyaraj Singh, has joined the BJP, forcing the Congress to look for a candidate in the coming Lok Sabha election.
Ijyaraj had defeated the BJP’S Shyam Sharma in the contest for the seat in 2009. Om Birla wrested the seat from the Congress in 2014, riding on the Modi wave.
In the Jhalawar-baran parliamentary constituency, the BJP has not lost a single election in the last two decades.
Dushyant Singh, son of former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, is the sitting BJP MP from Jhalawar-baran.
He has won the seat three times in a row. Before that, Raje represented the seat for five consecutive terms from 1989 to 2004.
Out of the 14 Lok Sabha polls held in Jhalawar-baran, the Congress has won four times and the BJP has won six times. The Bhartiya Jana Sangh, which later became the BJP, and the Janata party won four times.
The BJP’S performance in the assembly polls has remained consistently impressive in the Kota division.
While the BJP won 16 of the 17 assembly seats in the division in the 2013 assembly polls, the party did reasonably well in the 2018 assembly polls clinching 10 seats. However, Congress, which remained confined to seven seats in the region, managed to form government in the state.
Journalist and political analyst Madan Madir said, “Hadoti division bears tag of saffron heartland and even BJP founders, including former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former deputy PM LK Advani, used to campaign for the Lok Sabha polls in the Jana Sangh days in Hadoti.”
“Despite political wave in its favour in the state at times, like the recent assembly polls, the Congress rarely upsets BJP in Hadoti region, which speaks volumes about the dominance of BJP in the Hadoti region due to the adherence to the BJP ideology and party cadre strength,” he adds.
Further, the recent Pulwama tragedy and the air strikes in Pakistan certainly have given an edge to BJP, Madir said.
In view of the coming Lok Sabha polls, BJP may not have problems in choosing candidates for the polls in the Kota division with sitting MPS being frontrunners.
Whereas Dushyant Singh is almost certain to get the BJP ticket from Jhalawar-baran, Om Birla is also among the frontrunners for the Kota-bundi seat.
Congress, on the other hand, faces the challenge of finding a formidable candidate on both seats in the division.
There is a buzz in Kota that Congress may either field a Meena candidate from Kotabundi keeping in view over 3 lakh voters of the community in the parliamentary constituency.
Congress stalwart from Kota and state minister Shanti Dhariwal had recently told his party workers to help elect a candidate for the Lok Sabha polls from the seat.
In the Jhalawar-baran parliamentary constituency, Urmila Jain Bhaya, who is the wife Anta MLA and state minister Pramod Jain ‘Bhaya’, appears to be among the probables.
Kota MP Om Birla says, “Country is in the safe hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has delivered on all fronts in last five years. So, BJP will again win Lok Sabha polls in Kota parliamentary constituency.”
“BJP have fulfilled all our promises in last five years, including the construction of the collapsed cable-stayed bridge over Chambal river, start of passport services at postal department in Kota, infrastructure development, drinking water project, construction of multi-speciality hospital in Kota and several other development works,” he said.
However, Congress leaders contradict the BJP claims. Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) general secretary Pankaj Mehta said, “After the formation of Congress government led by CM Ashok Gehlot, farm loan waiver, unemployment allowance, hike in pension, peaceful conclusion of Gujjar agitation and several other public welfare works by Congress government will ensure victory of Congress in coming Lok Sabha polls.”
“Demonetisation, GST, unemployment, poor economy and other negative factors during the Modi government tenure will further dent the prospects of BJP and bring Congress to power at centre,” he said.
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