In Rajasthan, both Congress, BJP face dilemma of veterans versus fresh faces

Lobbies within both parties want to stick with old-timers, while others advocate fielding new candidates. What will Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah decide?

 |  3-minute read |   04-11-2018
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In Rajasthan, it is a game of fresh versus old faces for both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Although the two parties have prepared their first lists, which have been sent to their respective high commands, Rahul Gandhi from Congress and Amit Shah from the BJP have turned these lists away. The two have demanded that the lists be backed with better research, as these have names of some candidates who are likely to lose.

CM Vasundhara Raje is facing strong anti-incumbency. CM Vasundhara Raje is facing strong anti-incumbency. (Photo: PTI/file)

The Rajasthan BJP has carried out two different exercises. In one, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, along with other prominent leaders, took verbal, written, and confidential feedback on probable candidates. The other has been the probability of winning candidates and whether the ones sitting would lose the opportunity based on internal surveys.

The problem here is that the BJP has 161 MLAs in the 200- member Assembly, of which one 100 are likely to lose, going by perception. One lobby insists that most of these sitting candidates be replaced by either their family member or someone else, with their consent. This is because their contribution to the party and their experience cannot be ignored.

The other side says that while these candidates should be roped in, the party must give a chance to new faces to expand their base.

This makes sense as Raje’s ministers have contributed strongly to the prevalent anti-incumbency due to their arrogance, utterances against her, and unavailability to the public as well as the MLAs. Many MLAs also added to this either with their misdeeds, or failure to help their constituents.

Shah is believed to have told the state unit to redo this exercise with research of past voting trends and caste composition of the constituencies. He also wants to curb promoting one family.

Rahul Gandhi is reportedly upset with the little preference given to new faces. Rahul Gandhi is reportedly upset with the little preference given to new faces. (Photo: PTI/file)

In the January bypolls, BJP had fielded Jaswant Singh Yadav, a sitting MLA and minister from Alwar, and Ramswaroop Lamba, son of the late Ajmer MP Sanwar Lal Jat. Both lost badly. Insiders say Yadav now seeks a ticket for himself or his son, but the high command is reluctant. Several other veterans or sitting MLAs, who are likely to lose, want tickets for their family members.

But the BJP feels such a move cannot beat anti-incumbency, and the party should bring in real change. The high command is also clear that those who have been taken care of by the party have no reason to revolt if they are denied a ticket. It will then take more time before the candidate list is finalised.

As far as the Congress is concerned, Gandhi, who reportedly agreed that a candidate should be capable to win, is upset with the little preference given to fresh faces. For long, Congress has banked upon some veterans who win one and lose another, but still keep getting a ticket. In fact, some have even lost successive polls.

Now, a strong lobby within the party is rooting for discarding such leaders, including tainted ex-ministers. “Our image will get a boost if we deny ticket to ex-ministers with a bad image, or those who are bound to lose the next election even if they win this time,” says a senior Congress leader involved in the selection of candidates.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Also read: How cow vigilantism is polarising the Mewat region before Rajasthan polls


Rohit Parihar Rohit Parihar @rohit0

The writer is Senior Editor, India Today. He is based in Jaipur.

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