Several ministers and sitting MLAs of the ruling BJP in Rajasthan will contest the upcoming Assembly polls either as independents or as members of other parties. The Congress is dealing with a similar problem after nearly 10 of its MLAs turned rebels after not getting tickets.
The BJP denied tickets to many of its incumbent legislators and chose to go with new faces in a bid to battle anti-incumbency. Shortly after the saffron party released its first list of candidates, PHED minister and five-time MLA Surendra Goyal quit the party. Goyal filed his nomination as an independent from Jaitaran constituency in Pali district.
The other BJP ministers who will contest as independents include Hem Singh Bhadana from Thana Ghazi constituency in Alwar district, Rajkumar Rinwa from Ratangarh in Churu district and Dhansingh Rawat from Banswara constituency.
Some of these candidates can spoil the electoral battle for both the BJP and the Congress as they are known to command influence in their constituencies.
Rajasthan’s Devasthan Minister Rinwa is a three-time MLA, while Bhadana, who is the General Administration Minister, is a two-time legislator.
“Seasoned politicians such as Rinwa and Bhadana can spoil the game for both Congress and BJP. Apart from the fact that they command influence in their constituencies, many of them are also favourably aligned to the caste equations in these seats. Ever since the party didn’t give them tickets, they have projected themselves as people who have suffered injustice,” said a BJP leader.
The Congress is dealing with a similar problem. Some Congress leaders, who are contesting the elections independently or on another party’s ticket, include Babulal Nagar from Dudu, Sanyam Lodha from Sirohi and Brahmadev Kumawat from Masuda. “Both the Congress and the BJP are trying to placate their rebel leaders by persuading them to withdraw nominations,” said a Congress leader.