Rajasthan BJP, Congress hit by rebels, independents

May 4th, 2009 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party By Anil Sharma
Jaipur, May 4 (IANS) Rebels and independents are making life difficult for both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ruling Congress in the do-or-die Lok Sabha battle in India’s largest state, Rajasthan.

With 25 crucial seats, Rajasthan goes to the polls Thursday. In the last elections in 2004, the state’s then ruling BJP reaped a rich harvest of 21 seats, leaving just four to the Congress.

Political pundits say this time it might be difficult for the BJP to hold on to its 21 seats. The Congress is widely expected to increase its tally but there will be no sweep.

The reasons are not difficult to seek.

Independents, rebels as well as candidates of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have made the going tough for the BJP and the Congress in at least eight constituencies.

Kirori Lal Meena, who is fighting as an independent from Dausa, is giving a tough fight to both the Congress and BJP candidates. If political analysts are to believed, then the fight in Dausa is between two independents: Meena and Qamar Rabbani Chechi, a Kashmiri Gujjar.

“The other two main candidates — Lakshman Meena of the Congress and Ramkishore Meena of the BJP — are trying to catch up with them,” said Vijay Sharma, a political analyst.

A similar situation has emerged in Jalore where former central minister Buta Singh, formerly of the Congress, is contesting as an independent. Singh is proving to be a nightmare to both the BJP’s Devji Patel and the Congress’ Sandhya Choudhary.

In Sikar, Amraram of the CPI-M has made it a three-cornered contest. And if campaigning is any indication, then Amraram is way ahead of Mahadev Singh of the Congress and Subash Maharia of the BJP.

Nagaur is another such constituency where the fight is between the BSP’s Abdul Aziz, the Congress’ Jyoti Mirdha and the BJP’s Bindu Chaudhary.

“Both the BJP and the Congress have fielded Jat leaders and it is likely that the votes of the community, which dominates the area, would be divided. It might benefit the BSP candidate,” said analyst Sharma.

In Pali, the BSP’s Shambhu Singh Khetasar is proving to be formidable contestant for the BJP and the Congress. The Congress has fielded Badri Ram Jakhar and the BJP sitting MP Pushp Jain.

Jaipur Rural is also seeing a three-way battle. Sukhveer Singh Jaunapuria, a leader from Haryana, is fighting as as independent, giving sleepless nights to Lalchand Kataria of the Congress and the BJP’s Rao Rajendra Singh.

Sriganganar is seeing a contest between the CPI-M’s Sheopat Ram, Bharat Ram Meghwal of the Congress and Nihal Chand of the BJP, a sitting MP.

Bikaner is also set to see a close fight between the Congress, the BJP and the CPI-M.

The BJP has been hit hard in Bikaner as one of its leaders, Govind Ram, is now the BSP candidate. The CPI-M has fielded Pawan Duggal, the Congress Rewatram Panwar and the BJP Arjun Meghwal.

Of course, publicly the BJP and the Congress maintain that they are not bothered by others.

“We are not worried by independents and rebels. People usually vote on national issues in Lok Sabha elections,” said Satyendra Raghav, the state spokesperson of the Congress.

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