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Sachin kicks off campaign from new seat

Congress MP Sachin Pilot’s Lok Sabha campaign got off the ground on Friday in Rajasthan,with Pilot venturing into the Ajmer constituency for the first time as a candidate.

Written by Apurva | Dudu | Published: March 28, 2009 11:45:26 pm

Congress MP Sachin Pilot’s Lok Sabha campaign got off the ground on Friday in Rajasthan,with Pilot venturing into the Ajmer constituency for the first time as a candidate. Though his debut public meetings in Ajmer were replete with praise for the UPA Government and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot,it remains to be seen how Pilot will handle the sensitive reservation debate for the Gurjjar community,who form a large part of the Ajmer electorate and amongst whom Pilot has enjoyed considerable support.

Pilot was fielded from Ajmer following the reservation of his traditional,Gurjjar-dominated,Dausa seat for STs in the delimitation exercise. Though Ajmer is alien territory for Pilot as a candidate,he has campaigned for the Congress in Ajmer during last year’s Assembly polls. A BJP bastion since the 1989 Lok Sabha election,Pilot hopes to break the Congress’s jinx in Ajmer while also proving that he can win an election outside Dausa.

Addressing a public meeting primarily made up of Gurjjars in Dudu,around 55 km from Jaipur city,Pilot thanked the populace for readily welcoming him into Ajmer. “Though I will contest from here for the first time,Dudu is not new to me and I have been here during the Assembly elections. I only ask for your blessings and continued support to the Congress,” Pilot said.

At first glance,the Gurjjar community seems to have accepted the young MP as one of their own,while citing references to his father,the late Rajesh Pilot. Roop Singh,a local shopkeeper from Dudu,maintained that the Gurjjars would primarily support Pilot. But there is a rider as Singh said,“there is still the issue of reservation for which several of our brothers were martyred in the two Gurjjar agitations,which anybody is yet to address.”

Pilot seems to have gained a minor advantage in the run up to the polls with the BJP still undecided about a candidate from Ajmer. Five-time BJP MP Rasa Singh Rawat has been fielded from the neighbouring Rajsamandh constituency after the delimitation exercise. However,sources in the BJP stated that former BJP Cabinet minister Sawarlal Jat’s name has been suggested from Ajmer,keeping in mind the significant Jat electorate in the constituency.

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