Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Congress fields BJP-turncoat Pramod Sharma to take on Dushyant Singh in Jhalawar
Congress has shown its faith in former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pramod Sharma against sitting BJP MP from Jhalawar, Dushyant Singh, on the VIP seat of Jhalawar-Baran parliamentary constituency.
After brainstorming, the party has come up with a lesser-known face of the former 48-year-old leader who had served the Deendayal Vahini — a political outfit of disgruntled former BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari.
It seems Congress has rewarded Sharma for raising the flag of protest vocally against Raje on her home turf as he — under the aegis of Deendayal Vahini — had carried out ‘Go back Raje’ agitation.
Congress, which has faced allegation of fielding parachute candidate from outside Jhalawar — like Manvendra Singh from Jhalarapatan — against Raje in the 2018 assembly polls, has now fielded a local Brahmin leader to woo the community, which is considered to have a majority of BJP voters in Jhalawar.
In 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress had fielded party stalwart and current cabinet minister Pramod Jain ‘Bhaya’ and his wife, Urmila Jain ‘Bhaya’ respectively from Jhalawar-baran parliamentary constituency but both lost to Singh.
Pramod Sharma got associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) student outfit Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in Jhalawar in 1992 and was elected the union president of the Jhalawar Government College in 1996. Later, he was appointed the state vice-president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha from 2006 to 2008 and state general secretary of BJP consumer cell in 2002. He remained active in BJP till 2014 before having differences with Raje. Later, after quitting the BJP, he joined Tiwari‘s Deendayal Vahini, and had finally joined Congress in November 2018 just before the assembly polls.
When asked about his candidature and leaving BJP, Sharma said: “I left BJP as I wanted to pursue value-based and honest politics which I feel BJP lacked.”
Asked how he would campaign against BJP as he had served the party for such a long period, he said the issues of Jhalawar are “critical” and “more important as the mother-son duo (Vasundhara Raje-dushyant Singh) has affected the constituency”.
On being fielded against high-profile candidate Dushyant Singh, Sharma said: “Dushyant Singh could not raise the issues of Jhalawar in the Lok Sabha despite being MP for three consecutive sessions. So people have decided to oust him in 2019 Lok Sabha polls and it does not matter if he belongs to the family of the former CM.”
Interestingly, BJP has not lost any LS polls from the Jhalawar constituency since 1989 and it seems Sharma has a stiff challenge ahead.