In Rajasthan, BJP Takes Lead While Congress Lags Behind

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01 Apr 24
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By Gopendra Nath Bhatt

In Rajasthan, BJP Takes Lead While Congress Lags Behind

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the preparations and campaigning of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan, the country's largest geographical state, appear more vigorous and organized compared to other parties. Meanwhile, the main opposition party, Congress, seems relatively sluggish and disorganized.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday, kicked off BJP's election campaign in Rajasthan by addressing voters in Jaipur city, Jaipur rural, and Alwar Lok Sabha constituencies. Prior to this, BJP's national President Amit Shah, accompanied by other senior leaders, visited the state for a two-day tour to assess the party's election strategy and preparations. Shah addressed a rally in support of Member of Parliament Swami Sumedhanand Saraswati in Sikar and attended a nomination rally for Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister of Jal Shakti, in Jodhpur. Additionally, in meetings with Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma, State President C.P. Joshi, party officials, and workers in Jaipur and Jodhpur, preparations for the elections were discussed.

Sources suggest that Amit Shah has given strict instructions to the state BJP to ensure a clean sweep in Rajasthan, aiming to secure victory on all 25 seats in the state once again, thus ensuring Narendra Modi's re-election as Prime Minister and consolidating BJP's position in the state. 

While BJP is contesting on all 25 seats in Rajasthan this time, last time it had conceded the Nagaur seat to Supreme Hanuman Beniwal in a compromise. However, Beniwal, who parted ways with BJP over farmers' issues, is now contesting against BJP's Jyoti Mirdha with the support of the Indian National Congress. 

On the other hand, Congress is contesting only 22 Lok Sabha seats this time. It has formed an alliance with the left party CPI (M) in Sikar and has nominated Amararam, a candidate from the leftist party CPI (M), in Sikar. Moreover, Congress is in talks with the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) to field Mahendra Jeet Singh Malviya, a prominent tribal leader who recently joined BJP from Congress, in the Banswara-Dungarpur constituency. However, the seat vacated by Malviya as MLA from Bagidora, due to his defection, is still in contention between BTP and Congress. This has led to Congress' election preparations being somewhat disorganized.

However, Congress is set to hold a massive rally in Jaipur on April 6th, where party leaders Sonia Gandhi, National President Mallikarjun Kharge, and former President Rahul Gandhi are expected to participate. Congress is actively engaged in extensive preparations for this rally.

Congress aims to prevent a clean sweep by BJP in Rajasthan this time and to open its victorious account in the Lok Sabha elections. Therefore, Congress intends to divide the votes by giving seats to allies and contesting the election in alliance. Political analysts believe that Congress and its allied parties are in a position to give a tough fight to BJP on seats like Nagaur, Sikar, and Banswara-Dungarpur. 

Moreover, disgruntled BJP leaders Rahul Kaswan from Churu and Prahlad Gunjal, a former MLA from Kota, have joined hands with Congress after not receiving tickets. Additionally, there is dissatisfaction among some RSS leaders and party workers who have not received tickets or been considered for important positions. Despite BJP MP Subhash Bahedia's performance as the highest vote-getter in the last elections in Bhilwara, BJP decided not to give him a ticket, paving the way for Dr. C.P. Joshi, a former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and a Brahmin face, to contest from there. This indicates a tough competition in Bhilwara, where voters are hearing slogans like "Chambal water on lips, Ram's name on tongue" and promises related to Article 370 and Citizenship Amendment Act.

It remains to be seen how BJP's aggressiveness and Congress' sluggishness in Rajasthan will unfold in the upcoming elections.

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