Shooter, discus thrower to battle it out in Jaipur

Shooter, discus thrower to battle it out in Jaipur

From sports grounds, these sportspersons have ventured straight into wheat fields, temples, villages, hospitals and beyond, clicking selfies with villagers or driving a tractor. Two leading sportspersons who brought laurels to India, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Krishna Poonia, are on nonstop campaign trails in Jaipur Rural Lok Sabha Constituency.

BJP candidate and Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who also happens to be India's first shooter to win Olympics, is trying hard for his second consecutive term from Jaipur Rural. "Sports helps us remain fit. If we run and jog, diseases will be away from us," Rathore who is also Youth Affairs Minister tells a gathering in Kotpulti, where he is campaigning.

In his campaigns, he doesn't miss a chance to invoke his army background, Prime Minister Modi, Indian army and Balakot airstrikes. As he moves to the interiors of the constituency, he tries to get close to all sections of people. He doesn't hesitate to share meals, learn pottery or try mason work with the labourers.

Commonwealth Games discus gold medalist Krishna Poonia, currently the MLA from Sadulpur, about 260 km north of Jaipur, is the Congress candidate. They have both represented India at the highest level, winning accolades and making the nation proud. But now, they both are all set to fight each other in the most-watched electoral battle from Rajasthan.

Just like her opponent, Poonia doesn't miss a chance to mention being into sports. She strikes the conversation by mentioning her rural background. "I am a farmer's daughter, I want every youngster to rise. I want to work hard for the constituency and assure sound sleep to thousands of farmers here," Poonia dressed in a Kurta-Pyjama and her head clad with a dupatta, tells a group of people in Shahpura, one of the assembly segments of Jaipur Rural.

Party chiefs from both parties have campaigned for them. Rahul Gandhi held a rally in Jaipur Rural constituency and PM Modi and Amit Shah also held a rally. While Rathore, a Rajput by caste, is banking on Modi wave and the works he did in the past, Poonia (41) speaks about development, Nyay and promises to create jobs in the constituency.

Both Poonia and Rathore joined politics in 2013. Rathore won 2014 elections under Modi wave but Poonia lost assembly elections in 2013. However, in recent 2018 assembly polls, she won from Sadalpur in Churu.

Jaipur Rural constituency has 19,33,331 votes with a sizable Jat and Rajput population. In 2014 he defeated Congress leader, then-AICC General Secretary C P Joshi by a huge margin of 3,32,896 votes in Jaipur (Rural) seat. Rathore secured 6,32,930 votes while C P Joshi got 3,00,034 votes.

Fact file

Polling date: May 6
2019 candidates: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (BJP), Krishna Poonia (Congress)
Sitting MP, party: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, BJP
Winning margin in 2014: 3,32,896
Runner up name, party: CP Joshi, Congress
Number of voters: 10,16,230

Number of women voters: 4,59,607
Number of polling booths: 1,844