Saffron party turns things around in Weir bypolls

Saffron party turns things around in Weir bypolls

Campaigning for the September 13 byelections to Weir Assembly constituency in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district appears to have turned in favour of the BJP, as the party continues to target the non-Jatav voters in the Jatav-dominated sea

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BJP candidate Gangaram Koli appeared like an underdog at the time of filing his nomination papers, as his rival and Congress candidate Bhajanlal Jatav had a clear sway over his community.  However, the saffron party seems to have turned things around by a mix of door-to-door campaign and massive rallies in the seat.  Rather than weaning away Jatavs, the BJP focused on winning the non-Jatavs in the constituency who traditionally voted against the nominee preferred by the dominant community. 

Weir has 50,000 Jatav voters, as against the non-Jatavs comprising of 40,000 Jats, 25,000 each of vaishyas and Brahmins, 25,000 Gurjars, 15,000 Malis, 25,000 Dhakads, 12,000 Meenas and 10,000 Rajputs.

Koli’s prospects were also bolstered by an election rally by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the constituency, while the saffron party has also deputed its non-Jatav ministers to go on door-to-door campaign in their respective communities. 

Congress stalwart Jaganath Pahadia made Weir a fortress by choosing to contest from the seat, but the party’s effort to retain the seat by fielding his son in both the 2008 and 2013 elections failed as it lost on both occasions. 

 Meanwhile, the Congress’ Rajasthan unit has filed a complaint with the Chief Election Officer against the BJP for violating the model code of conduct by holding a public meeting at a school in Weir. 

The party said in its complaint that holding the meeting in a government school in Bhusawar town is a violation of directives issued by the High Court.  

It also accused the chief minister of breaching the poll code as she announced development schemes at an election rally in Nasirabad constituency.  “Vasundhara Raje had addressed a public meeting in Weir Assembly constituency at a government school.

 The Election Commission should take a tough stand against such violations,” Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma said, adding that Raje has been announcing various government schemes during election campaign disregarding the model code. 

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