Union Ministers Arjun Ram Meghwal and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore are among the 134 candidates whose fate will be decided in the 12 Lok Sabha constituencies in Rajasthan that go to the polls on Monday. Polling on 13 of the 25 seats in the State took place on April 29, while Bikaner, Nagaur, Dausa, Alwar and Jaipur Rural are some of the keenly watched constituencies in the fifth phase of polling.
The resurgent Congress, after its victory in the 2018 State Assembly election, is giving a tough fight to the BJP, which has skirted local issues and highlighted terrorism and defence preparedness as the subjects of national significance in its campaign. The candidates and leaders of both the parties came out in full strength on the last day of campaigning on Saturday and conducted roadshows and rallies in various towns.
Two former Olympians — Col. Rathore (BJP) and Krishna Poonia (Congress) — are locked in a keen contest in Jaipur Rural, while Mr. Meghwal is facing rebellion by the BJP workers in Bikaner after the exit of veteran leader Devi Singh Bhati from the party. Mr. Meghwal and his cousin Madan Gopal, as the Congress candidate, are the two former civil servants in the fray in Rajasthan.
Two seers — Sumedhanand Saraswati and Mahant Balak Nath — are contesting the election on BJP tickets from Sikar and Alwar, respectively, while the only erstwhile royal family’s scion in the fray is Bhanwar Jitendra Singh from Alwar. Jaipur royal family’s Diya Kumari contested the polls from Rajsamand in the fourth phase.
Both the Congress and the BJP candidates in Dausa, reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, are women. While the Congress gave the ticket to Savita Meena in its first list released on March 28, the delay in the announcement of former MP Jaskaur Meena’s name as the BJP candidate exposed the fight between factions led by local leaders Kirori Lal Meena and Om Prakash Hudla.
Centre of attraction
The Nagaur seat is going to be a centre of attraction for political analysts and psephologists, as the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party president Hanuman Beniwal is in the fray as part of an alliance of BJP with his party. Mr. Beniwal, who had quit the BJP and was elected an Independent MLA from Khinvsar, faces Jyoti Mirdha of Congress, who comes from the influential family of Jat leader Nathuram Mirdha — elected an MP for six times since 1971.
About 2.30 crore voters, including 1.09 crore women, will exercise their franchise in 12 constituencies. The seats going to polls are Sriganganagar, Bikaner, Sikar, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Jaipur, Jaipur Rural, Alwar, Bharatpur, Karauli-Dholpur, Dausa and Nagaur.