New Delhi, October 21
The ruling Congress and the opposition BJP on Saturday banked on old warhorses for the November 25 Rajasthan elections, besides signalling the capacity to let bygones be bygones.
Congress fields 5 ministers
- Unlike the first list of the BJP, which featured seven sitting MPs, Saturday’s list has no MPs
- The Congress has fielded five ministers and 27 sitting legislators in its list of 33 candidates
The first Congress list of 33 candidates features Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot from his traditional seat Sardarpura, which he has held since 1998; former deputy CM Sachin Pilot from his bastion Tonk and three Pilot’s loyalists Indraj Gurjar, Mukesh Bhakhar and Ramniwas Gawariya, who, along with their leader, had rebelled in 2020 plunging the Congress government in the state into a crisis. Gehlot had recently said the ticket of most rebels had been cleared as the party had decided to “forgive and forget”.
The BJP also sought to placate former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, seen to be increasingly sidelined in the party. Raje has been renominated from Jhalrapatan, which she has retained since 2003, and her loyalist Narpat Singh Rajvi, a five-term MLA, has been named a candidate from Chittorgarh.
In the first BJP list of 41 candidates unveiled earlier, Rajvi was dropped from his currently held Vidyadhar Nagar seat in Jaipur to accommodate Rajsamand Lok Sabha MP Diya Kumari. The move to sideline the son-in-law of the late Vice-President, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, upset Raje with the BJP going in for damage control in the second list of 83 candidates today. Rajvi has represented Chittorgarh earlier. Raje loyalists Kalicharan Saraf (Malviya Nagar) and Pratap Singhvi (Chhabra) also made it to the BJP list today. Nathdwara, which houses the revered Shrinathji Temple, will see an interesting clash with the Congress re-nominating Assembly Speaker CP Joshi, the sitting MLA, and the BJP fielding Vishwaraj Singh Mewar of the erstwhile Udaipur royalty. Singh joined the BJP only earlier this week.
The Congress has fielded five ministers and 27 sitting MLAs (in a list of 33 today). The BJP has so far repeated three-fourth MLAs, with nomination trends indicating that no party is willing to experiment in a state which has been voting out incumbents since 1998. The BJP list also features former Congress MP Jyoti Mirdha from Nagaur. She had recently switched over to the BJP. Former Rajasthan state chief Satish Poonia will contest from his current Amber seat. Leader of the Opposition in the state Rajendra Rathod has been shifted from Churu to Taranagar. In Pokhran, from where Union Minister Gajendra Shekhawat was also considered, the BJP has fielded Mahant Pratappuri Maharaj, who heads the Taratara Math, which commands a huge following. Maharaj had lost the seat in 2018 by under 1,000 votes.
Importantly, unlike the first BJP list, which featured seven sitting MPs, today’s list has no MPs. The BJP is, however, yet to name candidates opposite Gehlot and Pilot.
The Congress list also features state unit president Govind Dotasra from Lachhmangarh; former Congress in-charge of Punjab Harish Chowdhary from Baytoo; Divya Maderna from the current Osian seat, which she first won in 2018, and former Olympian Krishna Poonia from Sadulpur.
The party has fielded five ministers — Mamata Bhupesh; Bhanwar Bhati; Tikaram Julie; Mahendrajeet Malviya and Ashok Chandna.
While the BJP has so far declared 124 out of 200 candidates in Rajasthan, the Congress has named 33.
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