Rajasthan assembly polls 2018: In Udaipur, BJP home minister battles friend-turned-foe
Rajasthan assembly polls 2018: Dalpal Surana, a former party colleague, has become a thorn in the flesh for Rajasthan home minister and senior BJP leader Gulab Chand Kataria who has not lost any election in the past 25 years.Updated: Dec 05, 2018 21:49 IST
A former party colleague has become a thorn in the flesh for Rajasthan home minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Gulab Chand Kataria who has not lost any election in the past 25 years.
The entry of Kataria’s friend-turned-foe Dalpat Surana in the poll fray as a BJP rebel has given an interesting twist to the contest in Udaipur constituency of Rajasthan, which goes to polls on December 7.
Surana had resigned from the BJP last month after he was denied the party ticket from Udaipur, the nerve centre of the Mewar-Wagar region. Kataria has won the seat five times since 1977.
As a Bharatiya Janata Sena candidate, Surana could play spoilsport for Kataria who is locked in a keen contest with Congress candidate and former union minister Girija Vyas.
The region has 28 assembly seats and it is widely considered as the gateway to power in Rajasthan.
Read more: Vote share in 2013
In the 2013 assembly elections, the BJP had swept the belt winning 25 seats. The Congress managed to win two seats while the remaining one was bagged by an independent. In 2008, the Congress had won 20 seats while the BJP got six. One seat each was bagged by the Janata Dal (United) and an independent.
“I am in the fray only to ensure Kataria’s defeat,” said Surana, a former member of the erstwhile Jana Sangh, a political wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and precursor to the BJP.
There have been attempts by the BJP leadership, both at the national and state levels, to persuade Surana to withdraw from the contest but he is unrelenting. “The fact that I am in this battlefield against Kataria is my victory,” he said.
Both Kataria and Surana are from the Jain community, which has around 44,000 voters in the constituency.
Kataria ruled out any threat from Surana. “He is no factor here. He will go into such a depression after this election that it will be difficult for him to come out of that,” he said. “There is still time for him to withdraw from the contest and live with respect in the remaining years of his life.”
Read more: Win map of 2013
Vyas had defeated Kataria twice in the past — in the 1985 assembly election and 1991 Lok Sabha polls. She is hoping that Surana will cut into Kataria’s votes this time.
Kataria’s woes are compounded by another pro-BJP independent candidate, Praveen Ratalia, a diehard supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “My main aim is to defeat Kataria. He has done nothing for the constituency and does not allow any other leader to grow in the BJP,” said Ratalia, who is also the state president of Namo Vichar Manch, an organisation that propagates Modi’s thinking.
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First Published: Dec 05, 2018 07:04 IST