Third front emerges in R'than

Kirori Lal Meena likely to hold the key in case of hung Assembly

The election in Rajasthan has mainly been a bipolar contest between the Congress and the BJP.

However this time tribal leader and independent Member of Parliament from Dausa, Dr Kirori Lal Meena-led the third front under the National People’s Party (NPP) of  PA Sangma is poised to play an important role in the Assembly elections.

He has vowed to teach both the Congress and BJP a lesson. The jury is still out whether he will play the role of a kingmaker or a spoilsport.

 Showing his seriousness, Kirori had started an intense campaign in the tribal areas of Udaipur hiring a helicopter almost six months in advance to make common cause with the Bheel-Meena’s of Udaipur, which constitute a major chunk of ST seats, much to the surprise of political parties about the source of his money. 

Kirori belong to the advanced Meena tribe from Karouli-Dausa–Alwar belt which is different from the Bheel-Meena’s of Udaipur division, though both enjoying ST status.  
Bheel-Meenas had traditionally supported the Congress and one of the most backward groups. 

His frequent sorties to Udaipur had antagonised the tribal leaders from the region most of them affiliated to the Congress.

Meena, a medical doctor by profession, started his political innings as a BJP member but he quit the party in 2008 reportedly due to differences with Vasundhara Raje on the issue of reservation for Gujjars.

Many contend that it was also a personality clash with Raje after Kirori demanding free hand in the distribution of party tickets for his supporters in the area of his influence.
He fell out with Raje and contested as an independent candidate in the 2008 Assembly elections apart from fielding many independent candidates including his wife Golma Devi and about half a dozen of them came out victorious. These independents later came handy for the Congress which was five short of an absolute majority.

His illiterate wife, Golma Devi, became a minister in the Gehlot government.
He however later parted ways with Gehlot as well. 

Showing his confidence and influence in 2009, he contested for the Lok Sabha elections from Dausa and won.

Voter base

“His voter base is increasing every day,” is the contention of his ardent supporters in Dausa, which was once the constituency of late Rajesh Pilot.

Meena, has vowed  that neither Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot nor Vasundhara Raje will make it to the CM’s chair this time and he would play a decisive role in an assembly, which is purported to be hung after polls.

He enjoys extensive support from the Meena community in Dausa belt.

Kirori is waiting for the announcement of the candidates. He hopes many disgruntled leaders from Congress and BJP would join his party after the announcement of tickets.

“Just wait for a few more days,” he says with confidence.  Already Sunil Bhargav, a BJP national executive member, has joined his party after differences with Raje alleging BJP of surrendering the party to Raje in the state.

Political pundits believe that NPP can dent both the Congress and the BJP and in case of a hung Assembly he would turn out to be the king maker.

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