Barely four months back, then director general of police Harish Chandra Meena went on a month’s leave after being accused by the BJP of favouring the Congress during the December assembly elections. Considered close to the previous Ashok Gehlot government, he has since switched sides, got a ticket from the BJP and is pitted against his stepbrother and sitting Congress MP Namo Narain Meena in a keenly contested poll battle in Dausa.
While Namo Narain has reportedly said being the elder brother, he should be wearing the turban (symbolic in Rajasthan of taking the lead), younger sibling Harish Chandra wonders why the former accepted the ticket after his (Harish’s) candidature was announced.
“When I jumped into the fray, there were no candidates, not even a sitting MP, as Kirodi Lal Meena had resigned. No one can accuse me of anything. If someone else comes in later, it is that person’s choice. Also there are 15 of us contesting on this seat, so it is not just the two of us,” Harish tells The Indian Express, between public meetings in Thikariya and Mahua.
Refusing to comment on his previously strained relations with the BJP, Harish says, “I had taken leave from office before the assembly elections because my first cousin was contesting the elections. I took leave even in 2009 when my elder brother (Namo Narain) was contesting for parliamentary polls.”
At organised meetings, Harish, who took voluntary retirement from the state police last month, tells the thin gathering, “For generations you have been voting for the Congress and what have you got? Poverty, corruption, terrorism, poor law and order. Now vote for the BJP and see the change.”
Harish insists that Dausa has been deprived despite its proximity to Jaipur and the uneducated youth who have taken to wrong means need to be brought back on track. “There are issues of law and order, drinking water, education that need to be addressed.”
While the Meena brothers rarely make direct attacks against each other, National People’s Party state chief Kirodi Lal Meena, who vacated the sitting MP’s post after winning the assembly elections in Lalsot in December, has been alleging the brothers are in the fray together to keep power within the family.
Locals here are still impressed with Kirodi Lal and his wife Golma Devi, sitting MLA from Rajgarh-Laxmangarh. “Golma Devi used to visit us often and the family was very approachable,” says one Dhano Devi.
A further dent in the votebase in Dausa is likely to be made by independent candidate Anju Dhanka, who despite contesting in a Meena-dominated constituency in Bassi won by over 11,000 votes in the assembly polls, and has now made made this contest four-cornered.