By-elections in two Lok Sabha constituencies of Ajmer and Alwar as well as state assembly seat of Mandalgarh have put the ruling BJP in a fix as it seeks winnable candidates. The by-polls, to be held just a year before elections to the state assembly, will be a test of four years’ performance of the Vasundhara Raje government. So, it becomes imperative for the BJP to field winnable candidates after considering caste equations.
Chief Minister Raje has been holding discussions with senior party leaders to ensure victory in these by-polls. BJP’s worries have been compounded with Congress likely to field Sachin Pilot in Ajmer and Bhanwar Jitendra Singh in Alwar Lok Sabha seat.
Considering the stakes, Raje has been touring the assembly constituencies in Ajmer and holding talks with representatives of major castes and communities. On Tuesday, she visited Pushkar and participated in several religious functions and inaugurated the Kishangarh airport on Wednesday.
CM’s Ajmer tour and review of development projects indicates the ruling party’s intentions about winning the by-polls. Similar tours and discussions will now be held in Alwar as well. To win contest on both the seats, the BJP is considering to play the caste card.
State BJP chief Ashok Parnami told The Indian Express that it is winnability and not caste factor which will decide the candidates. “The BJP never plays caste politics but Congress. BJP considers recommendation of the party workers at all levels to decide a winnable candidate. As for developmental works, we have done in four years what Congress couldn’t do in five years. Over 78 per cent announcements of BJP’s manifesto have been completed by the state government.” Parmani says that the BJP has a provision of conducting a survey for deciding party candidates.
Meanwhile, Congress is assertive that people want change. Party’s state vice-president Dr Archana Sharma said, “The BJP government in the state is a total failure. The public now wants a change. The ruling party’s public image has deteriorated in Rajasthan and that’s why the BJP is attempting to fight the by-polls on caste basis. But, they will not succeed.”