By-elections in Rajasthan: Semi-finals for BJP and Congress
After an intense battle in the Gujarat Assembly elections, the Congress and the BJP will now take on each other in Rajasthan in two Lok Sabha and one assembly seat. These by-polls are being seen as the semi-finals of the Assembly elections that are due to be held later this year in the State.
Both the parties, the BJP and the Congress, have announced their candidates for the January 29 by-polls to the Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha seats and the Mandalgarh Assembly constituency. The by-polls have been necessitated following the death of Ajmer MP Sanwar Lal Jat, Alwar MP Chand Nath, and Mandalgarh MLA Kirti Kumari who all belonged to the ruling BJP in the State. With Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje facing much criticism from within the party, these polls have become an acid test on her popularity as well.
The BJP has fielded Labour Minister Jaswant Singh Yadav in Alwar and former Union minister Sanwar Lal Jat’s son Ramswaroop Lamba in Ajmer. Shakti Singh Hada is the nominee for the Mandalgarh Assembly constituency.
The Congress has given a ticket to former MLA Raghu Sharma from the Ajmer parliamentary constituency, while it has fielded Dr. Karan Singh Yadav from Alwar constituency. In Mandalgarh, Vivek Dhakkad is the Congress candidate. The polling is scheduled for January 29, while the counting of votes will take place on February 1.
Doctor v/s Doctor in Alwar
Two doctors from the Yadav community are set to test their political fortunes in the Alwar parliamentary constituency. Caste factor is to dominate the Alwar contest there is a subtext of doctor vs doctor. Maximum number of voters in the constituency are Yadavs and both the doctors had started campaigning in the area even before the names were finalised by their respective parties.
Dr. Karan Yadav is a former MP who defeated Chand Nath in the 2004 general elections from Alwar. He has also been a two-time MLA from Behror and has served as a superintendent of state-run SMS Hospital in Jaipur between 1998 and 2003.
After he joined the Congress, he won state assembly elections from Alwar's Behror constituency and parliamentary elections from the Alwar seat. On the other hand, Dr. Jaswant Yadav holds a bachelor of Ayurveda, medicine and surgery (BAMS) degree and is a state Cabinet Minister and MLA from Behror.
There are eight state Assembly segments in Alwar Lok Sabha seat, accommodating nearly 18.27 lakh voters. Nearly a fourth of the voters in Alwar belong to the Yadav community. Other communities with significant presence are Meos, Dalits and Brahmins.
Sympathy factor for BJP in Ajmer?
During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections Ajmer witnessed a high-profile contest between the former Union Minister Sachin Pilot-- who now heads the Congress in Rajasthan-- and late Sanwar Lal Jat. Jat then had defeated Pilot by a margin of 1,71,983 votes. The BJP, with a hope to encash the sympathy wave in Ajmer, has fielded Ramswarup Lamba, the son of the late Jat who passed away in August last year.
Raghu Sharma, the Congress candidate is a former MLA from Kekri in Ajmer district and has served as chief whip of the party in the Rajasthan Assembly in the past. A PhD holder, Sharma understands constituency's caste equations and Ajmer is his district.
Tough contest in the offing in Mandalgarh
Congress candidate Vivek Dhakkad will fight the election against BJP’s Shakti Singh Hada, the current Zila Pramukh of Bhilwara. Vivek Dhakar was defeated by Kirti Kumari in 2013 state Assembly elections by a margin of nearly 19,000. Many believed that Kirti Kumari managed the victory riding the Narendra Modi wave that helped BJP sweep the elections across the country at the time. Vivek Dhakkad holds an LLB degree and did his MBA from Punjab Technical University. Mandalgarh assembly seat fell vacant following Kirti Kumari's death, suspected to be due to dengue, in August.
(With Agency Inputs)