Deserters make fight complex in dusty Jat areas

Last Updated 15 April 2014, 18:51 IST

The dusty Jat hamlet which has been a Congress bastion since Independence is now facing heat in the summer of parliamentary elections from a rebel.

The political mutineers have made the contests complex in the adjoining seats of Jalore, Sikar and Barmer. While veteran Congress leader Buta Singh is contesting as an independent from Jalore, close aide of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Jaswant Singh is making his BJP rival Col Sonaram Chaudhary sweat in Barmer. 

Similarly, another BJP deserter Subhash Maharia is contesting as an independent against the saffron party’s Swami Sumedhanand and Congress’ retired bureaucrat Pratap Singh.

Sitting Congress MP Jyoti Mirdha, granddaughter of Jat leader Nathu Ram Mirdha, is finding it tough this time in comparison to her 2009 comfortable victory over the BJP candidate Bindu Chaudhary with around 1.5 lakh votes. She is fighting out with independent Khinwsar MLA Hanuman Beniwal besides BJP’s CR Chaudhary in the all Jat clash.

A doctor by profession, who lends glamour to the not so charming largely rural and industrial setting of the constituency, she projects herself as “daughter of Nagaur” — an attempt to exploit her Mirdha family credentials to retain emotional ties with voters and ride over rival campaign of missing in the last five years.

Mostly through her campaign trail in Jalnisar, Surpalia, Jayal, Makrana and other places, she sticks to local issues pushing not UPA’s but her achievements of brining Rs 3,000 crore worth water project in this parched desert region which will be operational in the next two years. Also, she claims she was instrumental in starting the Makrana-Parbatser rail connectivity besides taking up the pending marble mining issues with the commerce ministry.

For BJP candidate CR Chaudhary, a retired Rajasthan public service commission chairman, the PM candidate Narendra Modi’s wave is helping him to escalate the contest on UPA II’s failures. Chaudhary’s headache is BJP rebel MLA Hanuman Beniwal who has the potential to split more than 4 lakh Jat voters in about 16 lakh electorates who will exercise their franchise on April 17.  Political observers are of the view that the outcome will hinge on how Muslims, having around 2.3 lakh voters, poll.  The BSP, however, has fielded a local, Abdul Aziz.

Interestingly, in the 2013 Assembly polls, one of the eight Assembly seats of Nagaur was won by BJP’s Habibur Rehman.

(Published 15 April 2014, 18:51 IST)

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