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Shekhawat's name biggest vote catcher in Rajput stronghold

November 22, 2003 14:53 IST
Last Updated: November 22, 2003 14:56 IST


More than its Hindutva slogans and its chief ministerial candidate, Vasundhara Raje, it is Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat who is likely to fetch votes for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Rajput stronghold of Chittoregarh in Rajasthan.

Having suffered a drubbing in the 1998 polls, when the BJP won just two of the seven seats in Chittoregarh, the party campaigners are not letting go of any opportunity to use Shekhawat's name.

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Chittoregarh district has 1.5 lakh Rajput voters and almost an equal number of Muslims.

BJP leaders and campaign coordinators privately admit that had Shekhawat been active in politics, they would have won all seven seats in the district.

Both Vasundhara Raje and her rival, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, do not have much influence in this area. Candidates hardly refer to their names, and potential voters seem to mind little.

As of now, it looks like an even contest. There is no distinct wave in any one party's favour, which is true to some extent for the entire state.

It is sowing season and farmers have little time for politics.
 
Congress has renominated four MLAs and has replaced Madhu Dadheech in Nimbahera. He had scraped through
by just seven votes in the by-election after BJP MLA Srichand Kriplani was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1999.

The BJP has fielded Ashok Nawalakh in Nimbahera and he is facing Congress' Udailal Anjana. The constituency's most popular slogan --  'Ek hi Singh, Bhairon Singh, Bhairon Singh'.

In neighbouring Chittoregarh constituency if you enquire about the BJP candidate, the reply will be -- "Oh! Shekhawat's son in law?" Not many people here know Narpat Singh Rajvi by his name.

The constraints of the vice-president's office may prevent Shekhawat from campaigning, but his name, in all likelihood, will win the BJP a few seats in this region.


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