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Rajasthan Assembly Election 2018: Much at stake for veterans Girija Vyas of Congress and BJP’s Gulab Chand Kataria

Rajasthan assembly election 2018: Girija Vyas of Congress and Gulab Chand Kataria of BJP are contesting from the Udaipur assembly seat. Both are entrenched in the politics of the region.

rajasthan elections Updated: Dec 04, 2018 14:51 IST
Sachin Saini/Sohail Khan
Sachin Saini/Sohail Khan
Hindustan Times, Udaipur
Rajasthan Election 2018,Rajasthan Election 2018 News,Rajasthan Constituency
Rajasthan assembly election 2018: Congress veteran Girija Vyas on campaign trail in her assembly constituency Udaipur. (HT Photo )

That age is not a bar in elections could be seen in Udaipur, where two political stalwarts —Girja Vyas (72) of Congress and Gulab Chand Kataria (74) of BJP — are pitted against each other in the upcoming Rajasthan assembly election. And their past records stand steadfast for them.

The two leaders are entrenched in the politics of Udaipur region, which sends 28 legislators to the state assembly. However, going by the past achievements, four-time MP Vyas has an edge over Kataria, a seven-time MLA and home minister of Rajasthan. Vyas defeated Kataria in the 1985 state assembly elections and again in the 1991 Lok Sabha polls. There is much at stake for the two veteran leaders in the 2018 assembly elections.

Vyas, wearing a pink chiffon saree and a party muffler, takes feedback from the party workers in the morning before leaving for the poll campaigning. Wherever she meets people, she asks for their well-being, and not votes. “I have an old connect with people here,” she says.

On being asked whether she thinks Kataria as a challenger, she replies, “He (Kataria) has lost twice; once in assembly and then parliamentary elections. He then opted for another constituency and returned when I got busy in parliament.”

Her charge against Kataria is that in the last 15 years, he has done no development for Udaipur city. “People now want change and me to serve,” she claims and adds that she was contesting to bring back development to the city.

About her vision for the constituency, she says, “Water crisis is an issue here, I brought water from Jaisamand; we made long and short term contingency plans; will bring the Devas phase-III and IV project on track; and Udaipur should come under B-category town is our priority. Development here in the city is by Congress and its governments.”

Gulab Chand Kataria is a seven-time MLA and home minister of Rajasthan. (HT Photo )

Kataria’s campaign is not much different. Wearing a Nehru jacket and a Himachali cap, Kataria also starts his day taking feedback from the party workers and then conducts door-to-door campaign. He conducts about 20 election meetings in a day as compared to 18 by Yvas.

Kataria does not consider Vyas as a competition. “She will not be a contest, as for 14 years she was outside and never bothered about the city or its people. She is in politics since 1985, but cannot even mention one work people can remember,” he says.

Both Vyas and Kataria claim credit for the Devas water project, which supplies drinking water to the city. Kataria says that the Congress did nothing for Udaipur after the death of chief minister Mohan Lal Sukhadia (ex-CM).

He also alleges that during Vyas’ tenure as MP, the air-flights to the city were reduced, and it was the BJP which restored it. “She does not have any connect with the people,” he adds.

Although the Udaipur election is a fight between stalwarts, the locals rue that despite getting the Smart City tag, the second biggest city of Rajasthan still battles civic problems.

“Udaipur is a smart city, but we face traffic problems every day, the garbage is not lifted every day and modern education facilities are not there. We want our legislator to respond to such issues,” says Sajjan Singh, a local resident. Another resident Rajender Singh Rathore sums up what most people want by saying the leader should not be “arrogant” and should build “infrastructure for welfare of all.”

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First Published: Dec 04, 2018 14:37 IST