Vasundhara, a towering figure in her constituency

Even in her campaign rally by home minister Rajnath Singh in Jhalrapatan, Raje was absent, but her supporters were showing her 'kundali' and suggesting that she would win. (Photo by Suman Sarkar)

As we enter Jhalawar, one can see a signage saying “Welcome to the historic city of Jhalawar.

The city, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s hometown, is historic indeed when it comes to the elections, as she has been winning the polls for the last 30 years here.

The Jhalrapatan constituency is currently gripped by an election frenzy. Even without her physical presence, Raje is very much present in her constituency. She is everywhere, in the hoardings, posters, campaigning vans and of course, political discourse.


A supporter showing Raje's kundli. (Photo by Suman Sarkar)

Even in her campaign rally by home minister Rajnath Singh in Jhalrapatan, Raje was absent, but her supporters were showing her kundali and suggesting that she would win. Raje hasn’t campaigned in her constituency except for filling the nomination form.

But her team, led by her son Dushyant Singh and daughter-in-law Niharika Singh, is working hard in her absence. Dushyant, who is an MP from Jhalawar, doesn’t see a dip in the public enthusiasm, and is hopeful that his mother would win with a comfortable margin, even after the Congress pitted Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra against her.


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In the centre of Pattan bus stand, crosses a Congress rally led by Manvendra Singh. But the rally leaves many unmoved. Raman Singh, a shopkeeper, told DH, “People go and come, but Raje will win. No one can beat her in the constituency. She has worked a lot.”


Vasundhara during her campaign. (Photo by Suman Sarkar)

Adjacent to his shop is a fruit vendor, who equally believes that Raje is unbeatable. “A few years ago, no one knew what Jhalrapatan was, but she has brought the city on Google map. Now, we are being recognised everywhere in the country.”

When it comes to development, Jhalrapatan has reached the half-way mark, and has scope to grow. Many realise that, but at the same time it is difficult for them to vote against her. “In the education sector, a lot has been done. Yes, there are several problems, such as lack of good water, sanitation and roads, but we have hopes in her,” Naresh Saini, a BA student at Jhalawar college told DH.

Jhalrapatan saw Raje beat Congress’ Meenakshi Chandrawat in 2013 by nearly 60,000 votes, and lead her party to a historic mandate with 163 seats out of 200. 

Raje had become the first woman chief minister of Rajasthan in 2003, when she defeated Rama Pilot, the widow of Congress stalwart Rajesh Pilot, by a margin of 27,000 votes. In 2008, the BJP failed to make a comeback. Raje, however, retained the seat as she defeated Mohan Lal by over 32,000 votes.

The SCs and STs comprise 17% and 8.5% of the population respectively. Majority of the voters are Muslims.

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