Congress banks on old guard, BJP on ally in Rajasthan

Representative image. (PTI photo)

In less than 10 months after the Assembly elections, the ruling Congress and the BJP are once again battling against each other for the October 21 bypolls.

While the Congress has put its trust on its old guard for the bypolls to two Assembly seats, the saffron party is banking on its alliance partner Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) and Congress rebel candidate. 

The grand old party has fielded Rita Chaudhary in Mandawa against BJP’s Sushila Seegda, a former Congress leader who was suspended from the party a few months ago.

Seegda, 54, is the pradhan at Jhunjhunu panchayat samiti, has been Zila Parishad pradhan thrice and is also the daughter-in-law of veteran Congress leader Brijlal Seegda.

Similarly, for the Khinvsar seat in Nagaur, the Congress has nominated Harendra Mirdha against Narayan Beniwal of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP). Former cabinet minister Mirdha is also an All India Congress Committee secretary. Narayan is the brother of Hanuman Beniwal, who vacated Khinvsar seat after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Nagaur seat.  

“The party workers are feeling energised with bypolls coming up. But the internal rift within the party is creating a divide,” a senior Congress leader said while hinting towards Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot. According to the party insiders, the results in the bypolls will also be a measuring rod to evaluate the performance of Gehlot and Pilot. 

The two seats were vacated after Khivsar MLA Beniwal and Mandawa’s BJP MLA Narendra Kumar were elected from Nagaur and Jhujhunu Lok Sabha seats, respectively.

In 200-seat Rajasthan Assembly, Congress and allies have 101 seats. The Opposition BJP has 73 seats. The BSP had six seats but all their MLAs have joined Congress recently. 

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