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Congress has convoys, I have people behind me: BJP’s Tonk candidate Yunus Khan

The Tonk constituency is all set to witness a high-stake assembly poll battle on December 7. Congress’ Sachin Pilot will face BJP’s Yunus Khan, the number two minister in the Vasundhara Raje government.

rajasthan elections Updated: Nov 27, 2018 14:27 IST
Sachin Saini
Sachin Saini
Hindustan Times, Tonk
Rajasthan Election 2018,Rajasthan Election 2018 News,Rajasthan Constituency
BJP candidate Yunus Khan visit a Shiv temple in Tonk, his constituency. He is pitted against Sachin Pilot of Congress in the December 7 Rajasthan assembly polls. (HT Photo )

Tonk is all set to witness a high-stake assembly poll battle on December 7. Congress’ Sachin Pilot will face BJP’s Yunus Khan, the number two minister in the Vasundhara Raje government. Campaigning in Tonk, while Sachin Pilot tried to expose what he called the state government’s failures during his campaign, BJP’s Yunus Khan sought to highlight the achievements of the Vasundhara Raje rule.

Addressing a gathering at Arniyaneel village in Tonk, Khan said, “Besides me all present in the gathering are locals and no one is an outsider. They (Congress) are not considering me bahari (outsider) but bhari (heavy). Outsiders are those who everyday are bringing a large number of vehicles overloaded with people to hold meetings.”

Hitting out at Pilot, PWD minister Khan, who was earlier contesting from Deedwana (Nagaur), said, “They talk of anti-incumbency but we have people behind us whereas they have only convoy of vehicles.”

The BJP at the last moment removed sitting MLA Ajit Singh Mehta and picked Khan after the Congress fielded Pilot in Tonk, a seat dominated by minority voters.

“Yesterday someone told me that a crowd of about thousand people attended their (Congress’) meeting. When I asked how many were locals, he said only 150. Their convoy has vehicles from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and even Jammu and Kashmir. I said he (Pilot) has some relations there (J&K),” Khan said. “I am not contesting, people are contesting…In case of loss, it will be Yunus Khan’s, but the win will be BJP’s and of people of Tonk.”

Listing achievements, he said, “There is no road here, which Yunus Khan’s pen has not signed. Earlier 90% of roads were damaged, now only 10%.” Asked if Pilot will drive down to manzil (destination) through these roads, Khan said, “He can drive vehicles but manzil is in hands of workers.”

Accepting to be an outsider, Khan assured people that he will serve them. “I am from Deedwana but rest all are locals. I am contesting from here as a worker and fulfilling the responsibility given by the party. I am raising local issues of development but Pilot is confused and speaking on national issues like Rafale aircraft,” he said. “He (Pilot) should first clarify is he contesting from here or Delhi…If from Delhi, then his dream will be fulfilled on December 11. His helicopter or plane will not be able to land here as there is no airport here.”

Before Khan arrives in a village, a vehicle fitted with high-watt speaker system plays out BJP’s achievements and victory songs, with children dancing to beats. Women sing local songs in some villages to welcome him.

In colourful attire, women raise their problems, which Khan assures to redress. “No government has done work. The road here was made a month back but there is no water line and the pump of the tube well was stolen,” said Meena Devi of Arniyaneel village. Kalu Ram Prajapat of the village said, “We vote for the party and not candidate.”

Caste and religion take a back seat. After reaching the village, Khan first visited a Shiv temple and he was then welcomed with a garland and a safa (turban).

Khan and Mehta (sitting MLA) were campaigning to ensure BJP’s win. Khan asked people to compare 50 years of the Congress government with five years of the BJP in Rajasthan.

“We have fulfilled all promises made. Listen to Congress leaders when they come for vote but ask them what have they done in their tenures,” Khan said, addressing a gathering at Karimpura village. “CM Vasundhara Raje waived loans of farmers and introduced Bhamanshah scheme to strengthen women. But Congress is playing caste and religion cards to get votes.”

For complete coverage of Rajasthan Assembly Election 2018, click here

First Published: Nov 27, 2018 14:23 IST