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Gehlot may bag Sardarpura, but with reduced margin
Rakesh Hari Pathak in Jodhpur |
November 25, 2003 18:22 IST
Facing not only an aggressive BJP campaign but also the anger of state employees, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot may have to contend with a smaller margin of victory this time in the Sardarpura constituency in Jodhpur.
There is a general feeling among the people that the electorate in the largely urban constituency, amounting to about 185,000 persons, may rally behind Gehlot but even his diehard supporters concede that the victory margin might come down drastically. He had won the seat in a by-election by a handsome margin of about 50,000 votes.
The main reason is Nationalist Congress Party nominee Mahesh Gehlot. His presence may sway some members of the mali (gardener) community, the chief minister's caste.
At one time, Mahesh Gehlot used to be a Congressman. But he rebelled and defeated the party's candidate in the last civic elections and is now posing a challenge to the chief minister himself.
Ashok Gehlot's brother Agrasen, wife Sunita and son Vaibhav are trying to keep approximately 35,000 mali votes in the Congress fold.In neighbouring Jodhpur City constituency, Gehlot's close confidant and sitting Congress MLA Jugal Kabra is facing rough weather following the division of Muslim votes and an adverse caste combination.