Bypoll campaign heats up in Dholpur

Dholpur bypoll, scheduled on April 9, has become a high stakes poll for both the BJP and Congress.

Congress, today complained to the State Election Commission against jailed former MLA B L Kushwah, 33, of turning the Dholpur jail into BJP’s poll headquarters. Kushwah’s wife, Shobharani, is the BJP candidate from here.

Congress leaders and workers handed over a memorandum to the chief electoral officer, Ashwini Bhagat saying that Kushwah, who was till recently lodged in Bharatpur jail, has been transferred to Dholpur jail.

Stating that the ruling party is blatantly misusing power to help their candidate Shobharani, her husband Kushwah is being admitted to the Dholpur Hospital frequently. Faking illness, he has hence been shifted to Dholpur jail for convenience. Congress alleges that Kushwah has henceforth turned the hospital and jail premises into BJP bypoll centres and controlling his wife’s campaign from these two places. They have demanded that Kushwah, who holds considerable influence in the areas, despite being a convict, be shifted to Jaipur jail immediately.

Kushwah, who was a BSP MLA then in 2012, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in connection with a murder case of 2002. The court had found Kushwah guilty of executing the murder of Naresh Kushwah on December 27. He was booked under Sections 302 and 120 B of IPC and subsequently arrested by state CID-Crime Branch.

Although, Kushwah had rubbished the allegations saying he was deliberately implicated in the murder case by the then ruling BJP government. In July, 2014, the Rajasthan High Court had dismissed anticipatory bail application of the Dholpur MLA on the ground that he was charged with a heinous crime.
Rajasthan Assembly Speaker Kailash Meghwal terminated Kushwah’s membership from the House on Dec 13, 2016.

Incidentally Shobharani Kushwah is said to be an accused, along with her husband, in a chit fund fraud case filed against their financial company. There are complaints of the company having cheated innocent investors by promising high returns on fixed and recurring deposits.

Shobharani was inducted into BJP in February this year in the presence of senior party leaders, with much fanfare.

Meanwhile, state Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Congress state chief Sachin Pilot, several top leaders of both parties are leaving nothing to chance, to get an upperhand in this prestige seat. They both have been to Dholpur to garner votes for their candidates.

While BJP has fielded Shobharani Kushwah, Congress has fielded veteran politician, five time MLA and former minister Banwari Lal Sharma, 75, from the same seat. But with Mamata Gurjar, wife of dacoit Jagan Gurjar, filing her nomination, this bypoll has turned into a much-awaited triangular contest.

Raje has been camping in Dholpur since yesterday, for meeting leaders of various communities, especially the Jats. Her ministers have been holding rallies and small campaigns across the constituency for wooing voters towards Shobharani. BJP is banking primarily on the support of 1.82 lakh voters in the constituency from the Kushwah’s caste.

Meanwhile, Congress state chief Sachin Pilot, has been touring the constituency for the past few days and has been holding door to door campaigns for Sharma. He has been tweeting his campaign trail pictures saying he has been going around shop to shop, person to person and receiving good response from the crowd.

But with Congress being in minority in the state, political observers say the grand old party faces an upheaval task to win in this BJP stronghold.

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