Raje’s stayback in Dholpur before bypoll irks many

Jaipur, April : Chief MInister Vasundhara Raje’s staying back in Dholpur, citing medical condition before the crucial bypoll today has raised eyebrows as many say she has blatantly flouted the norms set by Election Commission.

Congress Party says Raje and two of her ministers have stayed put in Dholpur, flouting all norms. While it is mandatory for all to leave the constituency before the election day, the rule says only the voters can stay back in the constituency. Congressmen are also alleging that administration and government officials are succumbing to pressure from the ruling party.

Congress Party chief Sachin Pilot has tweeted : “ Admn, officials succumbing to pressure & allowing this, undermines the sanctity of the EC.Intimidation & luring of votes being done with impunity.”
He also tweeted : “ EC says no one except voters of the constituency can stay beyond 6pm yest. CM Raje & her two ministers are still in Dholpur.flouting all norms.”

The bypoll of Dholpur was necessitated following the termination of Vidhan Sabha membership of B L Kushwah. 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.
Rajasthan Assembly Speaker Kailash Meghwal terminated Kushwah’s membership from the House on Dec 13, 2016.

BJP has fielded Kushwah’s wife, Shobharani while Congress has put up 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.

A total of 15 candidates are in the fray for the bypoll. In Rajasthan, where caste is the single most important deciding factor, BJP Kushwah’s accounts for 25,042 votes . Brahmins have 24528, Jatav 22782 and Muslims and Lodha less than 15000 each. BJP has Kushwah and other castes votes in their kitty, while Congress is banking on Brahmin, Jatav and Sc-ST votes.

Even with majority votes in her favour, political pundits have been questioning the urgency of Raje to put in all her might into the bypoll campaign, which is otherwise her stronghold, her home turf? Why did she depute all her senior ministers into the poll campaign when the party is sure about its development agenda and about the various flagship programmes launched in the state, they ask.

They ask whether the fear of losing the bypoll has made Raje spend a number of days in the constituency and even hold a roadshow on the last day of campaign.The impressive turnout may have given her some solace yet she decided not to leave the battle ground.

Her close monitoring of the poll, eventually staying back at Dholpur has puzzled many.

Political observers also wonder whether winning the Dholpur seat would be a referendum on her popularity and the various measures she has taken for the welfare of the people.

After the stupendous win of BJP in Uttar Pradesh, masterminded by BJP president Amit Shah along with BJP Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan Om Mathur, there were speculations that Raje may be replaced by Mathur as state CM while Raje would be called to the Centre and may even replace External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

So experts say Raje’s eagerness to win Dholpur is understandable. Her no-show here in her home turf, would obviously not go down well with BJP top brasses as there have always been speculations about not very cordial relations between Raje and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Moreover Raje’s tacit support to IPL czar Lallt Modi and her endorsement for extending his stay in UK and the huge controversy it created in 2015 has not gone down well with biggies in BJP.

Moreover her silence on issues of death of Muslim man Pehlu Khan by gau -sevaks, attack on a Jaipur hotel owned by a Muslim, the Karni Sena attack on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film set Padmavati, has many criticising her.
After Raje tweeted yesterday: My heart goes out to victims of #Stockholm terror attack. We stand with the people of #Sweden in this difficult time.” there was Twitterati backlash, many asking her to think and speak on somebody nearer home in Alwar.
Even Pilot tweeted back : “ And not a word of remorse or sympathy for mob lynching in Alwar. CM shld speak out against so called”Gau Rakshaks”& their violence.will she?.”

With just a year left for the next Assembly polls in 2018, Raje must ensure BJP’s win in Dholpur, because it will ensure she still remains the tallest leader in the state, with nobody to claim her throne or offer her any competition.

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