BJP leaders to start campaigning in Rajasthan ahead of next year’s state polls
Just a few days after Bharatiya Janata Party national president JP Nadda’s visit to Sawai Madhopur keeping an eye on eastern Rajasthan ahead of next year’s state polls, Union home minister Amit Shah is likely to visit Dungarpur and Banswara in the first week of May with an aim to strengthen the party cadre in the tribal-dominated southern swathes. A senior BJP leader said the party has entered into election mode and the entire focus is on those districts and assembly seats where the BJP had to face defeat in the previous assembly elections.
He said that the visit of central BJP leaders to the tribal-dominated districts will boost the strength and morale of the party workers. A special meeting of the BJP ST Morcha (cell), addressed by Nadda, was held in Sawai Madhopur in the first week of April.
Of the 39 assembly seats in seven districts of eastern Rajasthan, the BJP won only four in the last elections. Hence, a special strategy is being chalked out to win back the lost ST votes in the region. Nadda is also expected to soon visit Ajmer and Kota. In the bypolls on two assembly seats – Vallabnagar (Udaipur) and Dhariawad (Pratapgarh) – held in October 2021, the BJP could not manage to get even the second position. Both seats were won by the ruling Congress as candidates of the BJP and the Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) faced humiliating defeats. BTP emerged in Rajasthan during the last assembly elections, and managed to win two seats.
Of the nine assembly seats in Dungarpur and Banswara, only three have BJP MLAs. Of the 4 seats in Dungarpur district, Gopichand Meena of BJP is an MLA from Aspur, while Rajkumar Roth (Chaurasi) and Ramprasad (Sagwara) are MLAs from BTP. Congress’ Ganesh Ghoghra is the MLA from Dungarpur seat.
Of the five seats in Banswara, the BJP have two MLAs – Harendra Ninama from Ghatol and Kailashchand Meena from Garhi. Congress has two MLAs – Arjun Singh Bamiya from Banswara and Mahendrajit Singh Malviya from Bagidaura, both ministers in the Gehlot government; Ramila Khadia is an Independent MLA from the Kushalgarh seat. “Our presence and hold in these (tribal areas) are declining day by day, and a strong connection is required,” another BJP leader said.
BJP MP Kirodi Lal Meena said Shah’s visit to Dungarpur-Banswara will bolster the party’s impact in the tribal areas where people face issues such as human trafficking, child labour, malnutrition, conversion and starvation.
He said that under the guise of Forest Rights Act, the tribals are being removed from the forest area by the forest department instead of being given land deeds. Due to the negligence of the government and apathy of the officials, the land deeds of the tribals are pending, he added.
When CM Ashok Gehlot was asked to comment on the BJP’s visit, he said that the saffron party has “money power which they have accumulated through electoral bonds (around 95%)”. “Industrialists are pressurised, and the entire money is going to their kitty. The case in the Supreme Court over the bonds is still to be heard. There is pressure on media, and the same thing applies to writers, litterateurs, and journalists. They have to go to jail over allegations that they are anti-nationals. What is happening inside the country?” the CM said.
He said, “I am not saying anything political. Governance keeps on changing, we believe that the fight for ideology is today, if the ideology is according to the constitution, and if not saved, then the country will have to suffer.”
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