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BJP banks on 'Modi magic' to tide over Rajput ire

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
April 21, 2024 20:09 IST
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Facing protests from a section of the Rajput community over Union Minister Parshottam Rupala's remarks, the Bharatiya Janata Party in Rajasthan's Chittorgarh -- a Rajput-dominated seat -- is hoping that the 'Modi factor' and the development work undertaken by his government will help it retain the Lok Sabha constituency.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting for Lok Sabha polls, in Jalore on Sunday, April 21, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Meanwhile, the Congress is raising the issues of farmer welfare and inflation to seek votes from the people of constituency, which goes to the polls in the second phase of the ongoing general elections on April 26.

The BJP has fielded its state president C P Joshi from the seat while the Congress has placed its bet on former state minister Udailal Anjana.


Joshi, who won the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Chittorgarh, is aiming for a hat-trick of wins -- an unprecedented feat -- and cited the 'increased rail connectivity, running of new trains and construction of new highways' in his constituency to highlight the development done by the BJP.

"Due to the development work, this region is about to change. I am confident that people of Chittorgarh constituency will choose development," Joshi told PTI.

Joshi, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections for a third time, is hoping that the 'Modi factor' and the development work undertaken in the constituency will shield the BJP from the negativity created against the party in the Rajput community.

Members of the Kshatriya community, also called Rajputs, have demanded that the BJP remove Rupala as the party candidate for the Rajkot Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat, following his remarks a few days back.

Addressing a gathering in Rajkot on March 22, Rupala had remarked that erstwhile 'maharajas' succumbed to the persecution of foreign rulers as well as the Britishers. Rupala further said these maharajas broke bread with them and also married their daughters to them.

Though Rupala tendered an apology for his comments, the Rajputs refused to accept it.

Amid intensifying election campaigning, Anjana is presenting himself as 'Kisan Ka Beta' (son of a farmer) and is seeking votes on the issue of farmers' welfare while cautioning people that the BJP is likely to end reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs if it gets more than 400 seats.

"Today, the Constitution is under threat. The BJP has made a joke of the Constitution. If they get more than 400 seats, then reservation to STs, SCs, OBCs will be abolished," he said.

While Joshi refuted the claim, saying the BJP was not against reservation and accused the Congress of being anti-Dalit, the Congress' narrative appeared to influence some people from the reserved categories.

"Reservation is our right and whether it is BJP or Congress, no government can withdraw this," Ramkishore Meena, a tribal in Gangrar town of Chittorgarh, said.

Anjana also promised Chittorgarh's opium cultivators to raise their issues in parliament, if he wins.

"I will not allow corruption in opium cultivation. I will work to get policies made in the interest of the farmers. Today injustice is being done to the farmers and there is no one to speak to them," he said.

Anjana said that inflation and unemployment were rising in the country under the BJP rule and the 'distressed' people want a change.

Famous for its tales of bravery, heroism and patriotism, Chittorgarh's economy runs primarily on the cement industry while the marble and granite industries are booming, said Aanchal Bohra, an entrepreneur from Chittorgarh.

Also, a lot of people are employed in ancillary activities like the transportation of cement and stones, he told PTI in Chittorgarh.

"Connectivity to Chittorgarh has significantly increased by road and by rail, which has positioned Chittorgarh on the economic corridor. Marble and granite industry is booming and chances of new cement factories coming up are increasing that will create more employment opportunities," Bohra said.

"The locals here understand the trickle-down impact of infrastructure development in the region and therefore, they would go with development and future growth," he added.

Sunil Ojha, a local resident, said people have benefitted from the increased rail connectivity in the constituency.

Former MLA Badri Lal Jat said that majority of people were looking for development.

"Chittor fort attracts a large number of tourists but they do not spend more than a few hours in Chittorgarh. BJP will do further works to boost tourism sector. Since the BJP is in power in the state, the double-engine government will focus on development," Jat said.

He claimed that the winning margin this time will be higher than what was in the 2019 general election.

Chittorgarh Lok Sabha seat includes eight assembly constituencies -- five of Chittorgarh, two of Udaipur and one of Pratapgarh districts.

Of these, the BJP has six, the Congress has one, and one seat is held by an independent MLA, who is a BJP rebel.

There are more than 21 lakh voters in the Chittorgarh Lok Sabha constituency including five lakh new voters. The seat is dominated by Rajput, followed by Vaishya and Brahmin voters. The constituency also has OBC, Dalit and tribal votes.

In 2019, Joshi defeated Congress candidate Gopal Singh Edwa.

A Rajput leader, Edwa joined the BJP last month and the party hopes that it will give it an edge in the elections.

While no leader has been able to register a hat-trick of wins from the Lok Sabha seat so far, five candidates -- two from the Congress and three from the BJP -- have won two consecutive polls from here.

Congress' Manikya Lal Verma won in 1957 and 1962 while Nirmala Kumari Shaktawat won in 1980 and 1984. BJP's Jaswant Singh bagged the seat in 1991 and 1996, Srichand Kriplani in 1999 and 2004 and Joshi won in 2014 and 2019.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024