Lok Sabha elections 2019: Final polling today; BJP, Cong look for gains

Twelve Lok Sabha constituencies in north and east Rajasthan go to polls on Monday with the most interesting contests being on the Jaipur Rural, Nagaur, Dholpur-karauli and Bikaner seats.

A total of 4,88,19,246 voters will cast votes in 23,783 polling stations for the 12 parliamentary seats. There are 134 candidates, including 16 women, in the fray.

Rajasthan has 25 Lok Sabha constituencies and polling on 13 seats was held on April 29.

In the second phase, the BJP is contesting on 11 of the 12 seats, having left the Nagaur seat for its ally, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party. The Congress is contesting all 12 seats and the BSP has 10 candidates in the fray.

This round of polling will present a challenge to the BJP which has not been very strong in eastern Rajasthan or the Shekhawati region comprising Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu districts.

A tough fight is seen on the Jaipur Rural seats where two Olympians are in the fray. The BJP has fielded Rajyavardhan Rathore, the sitting MP and union minister, while the Congress has fielded MLA Krishna Poonia.

The seat is regarded as dominated by Jats and their vote could prove decisive. In the assembly elections, the Congress won five seats and the BJP two while one went to an independent.

In Shekhawati, which has seen large farmer protests led by the CPI(M), the Congress performed well in the 2018 assembly elections, winning 15 of 21 seats in the three districts of Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu. The area has a large population of serving and ex-military personnel and the issues of air strikes and national security have made a dent in this belt.

In Nagaur, a Jat seat, the contest is between Rashtriya Loktantrik Party founder Hanuman Beniwal and Congress’s Jyoti Mirdha, a former MP and granddaughter of veteran Jat leader Nathuram Mirdha. The fight is being seen as one to save the legacy of the Mirdha family and also to emerge as the next Jat leader.

The Bikaner seat, which is reserved for SCS, is seeing a contest between cousins. Sitting BJP MP and union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal is up against Congress’s Madan Gopal Meghwal. In the assembly elections of the seven seats in Bikaner, the Congress won three, the BJP three and one went to the CPI(M).

While SC votes will be split, the upper castes, who are said to be upset with Meghwal, could play a decisive role. Devi Singh Bhati, former BJP MLA, quit the party after the ticket was given to Meghwal alleging that Meghwal had supported Dalits during the Bharat Bandh in 2018.

In the Dholpur-karauli, another Sc-reserved seat, the Congress is seen to have an upper hand. The Congress has fielded a fresh face, Sanjay Jatav, while the BJP candidate Manoj Rajoriya, the sitting MP, is facing anti-incumbency. Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje herself camped in Dholpur, her home turf, for two days. The BJP won only one, Dholpur, of the eight seats in the assembly elections. The BSP won the Karauli seat.

The Dausa seat that is reserved for STS saw infighting in the BJP between Rajya Sabha MP Kirori Meena and former MLA Om Prakash Hudla for the ticket. Eventually the party settled on former MP Jaskaur Meena. The BJP infighting could damage the party’s prospects. The Congress has fielded Savita Meena, wife of its influential MLA Murari Meena.

Eastern Rajasthan is also the area where the BSP has some influence. The BSP has put up candidates on 10 seats except Nagaur and Jhunjhunu and they could hurt the Congress on some seats.

First Published:
May 06, 2019 14:32 IST

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