Rajasthan polls: Heartburn in Congress over ticket distribution, BJP smells hope
Despite Rahul Gandhi’s assurance to party workers, many tickets have gone to new ‘imports’.
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Poll campaigning has picked up in Rajasthan after November 22 was marked as the last date for nominations withdrawal. Elections are to be held on December 7.
In the Congress camp, there is a feeling that the party has made a mess in ticket distribution, and the job should have been left either to Sachin Pilot or to Ashok Gehlot.
While the two maintained silence over internal conflicts, leader of the Opposition Rameshwar Duddi made his anger apparent. He announced that he wouldn’t fight the polls after KL Jhanwar, who recently joined the Congress and was given a ticket at Duddi's behest, was removed and veteran leader BD Kalla was asked to contest instead.
Jhanwar was once a strong rival of Duddi, and the latter feared that if not given a ticket, Jhanwar would contest as an Independent and give him a tough fight. Jhanwar was ultimately accommodated at another seat.
Many feel the job should have been left either to Sachin Pilot or to Ashok Gehlot. (Photo: PTI/file)
The party faces flak for fielding defectors — especially after AICC president Rahul Gandhi had repeatedly assured Congress workers that no such ‘parachute candidate’ would be given a ticket. Some Congressmen feel let down, as they feel the party could have won a majority even without giving tickets to such candidates.
The party has played the minority card well, by giving tickets to 15 Muslims. This, too, has caused some heartburn. For example, supporters of Rajiv Arora, co-founder of Amrapali Jewels, are upset that Rafeeq Khan, a liquor contractor, has been preferred over him from Adarsh Nagar. Arora has been an aide to Gehlot.
However, many Congress candidates, despite being fresh and unpopular, stand a good chance to win.
The BJP has been fighting this by reaching out to voters. Amit Shah, party president and Vasundhara Raje, chief minister, have interacted with lakhs of youth through video-conferencing, telling them about the government’s works. They have also asked the youth to speak up if the benefits of some schemes have not reached them.
The Raje government’s policies have been good. Even Ashok Gehlot has declared that if his party comes to power, he will not abolish the BJP’s welfare schemes.
The BJP is also hoping that the mess created in the Congress’ distribution of tickets has made people talk about the selection of candidates, instead of focusing on the failings of the government. The narrative is around how much people will gain with a Congress government (with such MLAs).
The Congress has kept its attack focused on Vasundhara Raje, stoking anti-incumbency. (Photo; PTI/file)
The ruling party also hopes for a swing in its favour once Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah get going in the state, along with UP CM Yogi Adityanath. The BJP is fervently hopeful its cadre strength will be able to bring it back to power, given any loss now will negatively affect Modi’s chance to become PM again.
The Congress has already worked out its strategy by refusing to bring Rahul Gandhi against Modi. Instead, they’ll be stepping up their attack against Raje, to keep fueling anti-incumbency.
(Courtesy of Mail Today)