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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Rajasthan Congress gears up for LS polls, wants list of probable candidates by January 25

A senior leader of Rajasthan Congress said that the party might give chance to new faces in Lok Sabha elections but the parameter of winnability will be the priority.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Jan 07, 2019 13:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Congress won the recently-held assembly elections in Rajasthan.
Congress won the recently-held assembly elections in Rajasthan. (AP File )

Encouraged by government formation in Rajasthan, the Congress has geared up for this year’s Lok Sabha elections and asked its four AICC secretaries in the state to submit lists of probable candidates by January 25.

“The party might give chance to new faces in Lok Sabha elections like in assembly polls and allotment of cabinet berths, but the parameter of winnability will be the priority,” a senior party leader said on anonymity.

“The AICC secretaries have done their exercise but will be making rounds of their areas after the kisan rally (January 9) for giving the panel of candidates a final shape and submit it by January 25, the deadline given by the party’s central leadership,” the leader said.

The BJP won all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2014 polls, but lost Alwar and Ajmer by-lections to the Congress in 2018. After defeat in the assembly elections, the BJP faces a challenge to put up a good show in general elections.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had repeated candidates on around a dozen seats and picked new faces for the rest. In the 2009 and 2014 LS elections, the party had fielded women candidates on five seats; three won in 2009 from Nagaur, Jodhpur and Chittorgarh.

The Congress is now facing a 2008-like situation, another senior leader said. In 2008, the party won 96 assembly seats and got 36.92% votes, and the BJP bagged 78 seats. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won 20 seats and BJP managed four. In the last assembly polls, the Congress won 99 seats (39.3%) and BJP 73 (38.8%). “It’s a general trend that the ruling party gets a major share of the Lok Sabha polls, but things depend to a large extent on distribution of tickets,” the leader said.

The Lok Sabha elections will be a challenge for the Congress as the opposition BJP has a strong presence in the state assembly with 73 seats. In addition, the performance of the BSP, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) and Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) in the assembly polls has alarmed not only the Congress but also the BJP. “The Congress is giving more attention to five seats -- Alwar, Bharatpur, Nagaur, Barmer and Banswara -- where these third front parties might dent its prospects,” the leader said.

The BSP, which won six assembly seats in Rajasthan, got over 2.5 lakh votes in Alwar Lok sabha seat that comprises eight assembly constituencies, of which seven went to polls. The BSP stood third in garnering votes after the Congress (3.95 lakh) and BJP (4.12 lakh). Of the eight seats, the three parties won two seats each and one went to an independent.

Of the eight assembly seats in the Bharatpur LS constituency, the Congress won five, BSP 2 and RLP one. The BSP got over 1.75 lakh votes and Rasthriya Lok Dal over 50,000, whereas the Congress got 5.25 lakh votes and BJP 4.35 lakh.

Emergence of BTP in tribal areas of Banswara and Dungarpur by winning two seats in the assembly elections has prompted both the national parties to have a relook at their strategy and candidate selection, the leader said. Of eight assembly constituencies in Banswara and Dungarpur LS seat, the Congress won four and BJP and BTP two each.

Of eight assembly constituencies in Nagaur LS seat, Congress won 5, BJP 2 and RLP one. The RLP has won two assembly seats – Khivsar and Medata -- and got over 1.50 lakh votes. Medata is part of Rajsamand LS seat. In Barmer LS seat, the RLP registered win on one assembly seat and got over 1.45 lakh votes. The Congress won five seats there and BJP two.

First Published: Jan 07, 2019 13:04 IST

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