Jhalrapatan will vote for change: Manvendra

Jhalrapatan will vote for change: Manvendra

Manvendra Singh at an election rally in Jhalrapatan. DH PHOTO/Suman Sarkar

"You will have to make Congress win. The constituency needs a change as it has been neglected under the BJP," was how Chitra Singh opened her speech.

Chitra is the wife of Manvendra Singh, who has been pitted by the Congress against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

Draped in a ochre-coloured traditional Rajputi poshak, Chitra, who is managing her husband's campaign, requested a gathering at a bus stop in Jhalrapatan on Monday afternoon to vote for her husband.

Fifty four-year-old Manvendra, who switched over from the BJP just weeks before he was fielded against the chief minister, said there is a "wave" in favour of the Congress and that Jhalrapatan must go with the wave.

When DH asked Manvendra what the first thing he would change in Jhalrapatan if won is, he pointed to his shoes and said: "This is the first time that I am not wearing my Jodhpuri mojiris. I have bought a local sports shoes to walk comfortably on the roads. Roads here are filled with filth and cow dung, which forced me to give up my traditional mojiris".

Singh, who has been campaigning here for the last two weeks, has covered 220 villages so far.

"I start my day at 9 am and I return home at around 11 pm at night. Throughout the day, I address different sabhas organised by all kinds of communities. Whenever I enter a village, the story of neglect by Vasundharaji is visible. The constituency is lagging behind when it comes to roads, water, education and moreover the medical facility," Singh told DH.

When asked if he has been accepted by the people of Jhalrapatan, as his present constituency Sheo is 700 km away in Barmer, Singh said, "I am a Rajasthani by heart, kilometres don't matter — intention does. And I have received immense support from all the communities as people here want to vote for the change."

While he in fact has gained new supporters, the BJP has declared him an outsider.

"He hardly made any effect on our campaigns. We will continue to win Jhalrapatan. He is an outsider," Dushyant Singh, Jhalwar MP and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's son, told DH.

Reacting to the BJP's claim that Manvendra is a parachute candidate, one supporter from Barmer said: "Manvendra Singh is not a parachute candidate. He is a paratrooper who has served in territorial army and has all the skills."