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Will Congress field Vaibhav Gehlot in Rajasthan bypolls?

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The bye-election for the four vacant Vidhan Sabha seats in Rajasthan is likely to witness a number of aspirants from both the Congress and the BJP seeking a party ticket. The elections are due in Sahara, Sujangarh, Rajsamand and Vallabhnagar.

Barring Sujangarh—a seat that was won by the Congress, all other seats are general category seats. It is learnt that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav, and Speaker CP Joshi’s son Himanshu are two of the names that have cropped up for party’s nomination.

Vaibhav Gehlot is tipped for the Rajsamand seat which fell vacant because of the death of the sitting BJP member Kiran Maheshwari, while the Sahara seat was held by late Kailash Trivedi of the Congress. The Sujangarh seat was held by Master Bhanwar Lal Meghwal and the Vallabhnagar seat by Gajendra Singh, both Congress bastions.

The Election Commission is yet to announce the date for by-elections, but it is expected anytime next month.

Vaibhav Gehlot trying to re-enter electoral politics

Himanshu Joshi and Vaibhav Gehlot are both law graduates. Vaibhav is the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) and is active in both cricket as well as politics. He contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Jodhpur and lost by over two lakh votes to BJP’s Gajendra Singh Shekhawat under a strong Modi wave.

Vaibhav is trying to make his re-entry into electoral politics and having lost from the Lok Sabha elections from Jodhpur, he is looking for a safer seat.

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However, Rajsamand remains a tough proposition for Gehlot’s son as this seat was held by Kiran Maheshwari, who was elected for the second time from Rajsamand. She was also elected from Udaipur for the Lok Sabha once.

Ashok Gehlot camp denies speculations

The Ashok Gehlot camp has denied the speculation that Vaibhav is in the fray for the Rajsamand seat and a close aide of Gehlot said that Vaibhav was not keen to contest the bye-election.  The reason why Vaibhav’s name emerged from Rajsamand was because he visited the marble city four times in the past two months.

Moreover, because of the bye-elections in the four Assembly constituencies, all the work in the constituencies are being given priority by officials as per the instructions of the chief minister. It is said that Vaibhav was instrumental in getting 17 road projects, mostly in the Rajsamand Vidhan Sabha constituency. These projects are worth Rs 96 crore and the people are very happy with the projects.

Caste factor

Vaibhav Gehlot belongs to the Mali community. However, Rajsamand has Rajputs, Gujjars, Rawats and Brahmins. Thus, Vaibhav may not find the constituency very ideal on caste lines.

Himanshu Joshi is seeking the nomination from Sahara as this seat has a large number of Brahmin votes. His father CP Joshi has a good influence in both Rajsamand and Bhilwara districts. In fact, Joshi, who is the Speaker cannot be active in politics, but he wields tremendous influence in four of the three constituencies where the bye-elections are due. He has been a member of Lok Sabha from Bhilwara and became the rural development minister.

The son of Kailash Trivedi is also seeking nomination on emotional lines and so is Bhanwar Lal Meghwal’s son from Sujangarh.  For the Rajsamand seat, Kiran Maheshwari’s daughter is seeking a BJP’s ticket.

 

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