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Rajasthan Congress hopeful of retaining two Assembly seats in bypolls

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The Rajasthan Congress is hopeful of retaining the two seats it had won in the 2018 Assembly poll again in the bye-elections which concluded Saturday. While the party is confident of winning both Sahara and Sujangarh, it is in a neck-to-neck contest in the third seat Rajsamand which was held by the BJP.

The polling in the three constituencies was lower than the polling recorded in 2018, with COVID-19 being a major factor for the lower turnout of voters.

Sympathy, Jat & Brahmin factor in Rajasthan bypolls

Prof Sanjay Lodha, a psephologist and former dean of Mohan Lal Sukhadia Univerity, Udaipur, is of the view that the Sahara seat, which recorded 56.56 per cent polling on Saturday, may be retained by the Congress as the constituency witnessed a sympathy wave in favour of the Congress candidate, Gayatri Devi. She is the widow of Kailash Trivedi, who had won the seat in the last poll and a popular personality in the region.

The BJP fielded Ratan Lal Jat who belongs to the Jat community, but he could not campaign actively because he was quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19. Moreover, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), a Rajasthan-based outfit, also fielded a Jat candidate to the great discomfiture of the BJP. The split of the Jat votes would help the Congress as it received enormous support from the Bramhin community. Gayatri Devi is a Bramhin.

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The RLP is also likely to prove a dampener for the BJP in Sujangarh as its candidate who was unable to win made inroads into the BJP’s Jat votes.  Sujangarh is a reserved seat for the SC and it recorded  57.39 percent polling. The Congress fielded Manoj Meghwal, the son of Bhanwar Lal Meghwal, who was a Cabinet minister in Ashok Gehlot’s government. Manoj enjoyed the sympathy of the people while his rival Khema Ram Meghwal suffered a rude jolt because of the RLP candidate.

Rajputs unhappy with Rajasthan BJP

The contest in Rajsamand, a seat held by Kiran Maheshwari, was keen and it witnessed 67.18 per cent polling. This constituency has a large number of voters from the Rajput community and they were annoyed with the BJP leader Gulab Chand Kataria’s remark about Maharana Pratap.

Lodha said the Rajsamand seat is considered a BJP bastion, but the statement of Kataria suddenly put the Congress in the contest and the BJP lost not only the Rajput votes but also the SC and OBC votes. The BJP had fielded Dipti Maheshwari, the daughter of Kiran Maheshwari, and she was expected to get the sympathy votes against the Congress candidate and marble businessman AK Bohra, but it did not happen. Observers feel that if the Congress candidate gets the votes of the Rajput community, it might surprise the BJP.

The Congress government’s announcement of a Rs 100 crore development package for the three constituencies has also helped the party.

 

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