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Lok Sabha polls 2024: Congress aims to foil BJP hat-trick in Rajasthan

Rajasthan votes in two phases - April 19 and April 26.
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 22:58 IST
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 22:58 IST

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Jaipur: Having made a clean sweep of all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the last two elections, the BJP is having to traverse the extra mile to complete a hat-trick. Congress, having drawn nil in the last decade, is hoping to regain some ground with alliances, although stopping the Modi juggernaut seems an uphill task.

Rajasthan votes in two phases - April 19 and April 26.

Rajasthan, being a bipolar state, has alternated between the two major parties BJP and Congress in the state elections for the past 30 years. But in the case of Lok Sabha elections, since the Modi wave began in 2014, BJP has held sway over 25 seats.

Jats, who form 15% of the total population, are said to be angry with the BJP on several issues including farmers' agitation, the Agniveer scheme, women wrestlers issue and the treatment meted out to former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satyapal Malik after his outburst against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Agniveer scheme under Agnipath Yojana which allows youth between the age of 17.5 to 21 years to enrol as Agniveers for four years has been a real dampener in districts like Churu, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, which send the largest contingent to the forces.

The Shekhawati belt, especially Jhunjhunu and Sikar send the highest number of young men to the armed forces. Of the 80,000 Army personnel from Rajasthan, at least 50,000 are from these two districts.
Sensing the growing resentment against the Agniveer Scheme, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, recently said the government is “open to change” if necessary.

Congress is trying its best to make the most out of the 'anger'. It is also harping on the unemployment issue and has promised to fill three million vacancies in government jobs, 50% job quota for women and apprenticeship rights. Besides, it has also promised a legal guarantee on MSP for crops.

Meanwhile, Rajputs, who form about 12% of the total population, are also piqued over BJP leader Purushottam Rupali’s remarks, when he said maharajas broke bread with the British and even married their daughters to them, at a Dalit event. The video went viral and triggered a backlash. Rajputs are also unhappy that BJP minister and former Army chief V K Singh has been denied a ticket this time.

Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka and president Mallikarjun Kharge are enumerating the dangers to the Constitution and how democracy and democratic rights are being trampled upon.

BJP is going all out with paper leaks and promising that anybody involved would not be spared with the education minister Madan Dilawar announcing that even Congress state chief Govind Singh Dotasra and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot can be jailed over the paper leak trail. BJP is also labouring the point that Modi keeps all his promises and his guarantees are to be believed. Completion of Ram Mandir is a big emotive issue in the state, where religion is a way of life.

Congress’s alliance in Nagaur, Sikar, Banswara may just upset the BJP. In Nagaur, RLP candidate Beniwal, an influential Jat leader, may turn the tables on Jyoti Mirdha, who lost the Assembly seat recently. In Sikar, CPM Amraram’s candidature is said to have united the Congress and he may give a fight to BJP’s Sumedhanand Saraswati, who has been largely inaccessible in the past 10 years.

In Churu, BJP turncoat Rahul Kaswan may give a scare to Paralympian Devendra Jhajhariya, BJP and Modi’s nominee. It has become a prestige battle for BJP veteran leader Rajendra Rathore, who is said to have been defeated by Kaswan’s machinations in Assembly elections.

Political observers say Arjun Ram Meghwal, union minister may face tough fight in Bikaner due to Jat resentment.

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Published 16 April 2024, 22:58 IST

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