Cong. under pressure to give tickets to relatives of deceased MLAs in three seats
Faced with the difficult task of selecting candidates for the upcoming by-elections in four Assembly seats, the ruling Congress in Rajasthan is considering political factors which could influence the perceptions of voters. The party is under pressure to give tickets to the kin of the deceased MLAs in three constituencies.
The bypolls are to be held in Sujangarh, Sahara, Vallabhnagar and Rajsamand, where the sitting MLAs died during the last four months. Three of these seats were with the Congress, while the Rajsamand constituency was represented by BJP leader Kiran Maheshwari.
Focus on development
While the dates for the by-elections are yet to be announced, the State government has launched development works in all the four constituencies. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot virtually inaugurated and laid the foundation stones for various schemes worth ₹158 crore on Friday.
Mr. Gehlot said it was his responsibility after the death of the sitting MLAs to ensure that development is not stalled in the constituencies. “These works were sanctioned in the past. They have been inaugurated to give direct benefit to the people. About 55% of the promises made in our election manifesto have been fulfilled in the last two years,” he said.
The family members of deceased Congress MLAs Bhanwarlal Meghwal in Sujangarh, Gajendra Singh Shaktawat in Vallabhnagar and Kailash Trivedi in Sahara have staked their claims for candidature. Among them, Shaktawat was a known loyalist of former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and was one of the MLAs who sided with him during last year’s political crisis.
The frontrunner in Sujangarh in Meghwal’s son, while the Congress may field Shaktawat’s wife as its candidate in Vallabhnagar to get the benefit of public sympathy. The party has appointed Ministers, MLAs and office-bearers as in-charges in the four seats to ensure timely completion of public works.
Son in the reckoning
Mr. Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot is in the reckoning in the politically significant Rajsamand constituency, according to Congress sources. He has visited Rajsamand several times in the last month following the victory of the Congress in the local body polls and formation of its board in the municipal council after 25 years.
BJP State president Satish Poonia claimed that the Congress was focusing on development works because of its “insecurity and fear of defeat” in the bypolls. Mr. Poonia said at a meeting of chiefs of front organisations here that the Congress had lost ground in the State because of its “internal rift”.