In the by-election held at Shri Karanpur assembly seat of Sriganganagar district in Rajasthan, Congress candidate Rupinder Singh Kunnar defeated BJP candidate and Rajasthan government minister Surendrapal Singh TT by a margin of 11261 votes. BJP has been disgraced by the defeat of Surendrapal Singh TT. During the by-elections, BJP had even made its candidate Surendrapal Singh TT a minister during the election process itself to win the elections. But despite this he was defeated in the elections. This is the first such incident in the country. When a candidate was made a minister during the election process. During the election process, Congress had even complained to the Election Commission regarding making TT a minister. But BJP, regardless of any allegation, administered the oath of office to TT as a minister.
Not even a month has passed since the BJP government was formed in Rajasthan. Even before that, the government has suffered a big setback in the by-elections. The effect of the defeat in the by-election can be seen in the next Lok Sabha elections also. The victory in the by-elections has strengthened the morale of the Congress party leaders due to which they will try to contest the Lok Sabha elections with more unity. Congress had made MLA Gurmeet Singh Kunnar its candidate in the assembly elections. But the election was postponed due to his death before voting. To get the sympathy of the voters, Congress had fielded Rupinder Singh Kunnar, son of its deceased MLA Gurmeet Singh Kunnar, as its candidate. This move of Congress was successful and their candidate won the election.
Anyway, BJP has been very weak this time in the assembly elections in Sri Ganganagar Lok Sabha constituency. Out of eight seats in the region, BJP has been able to win only two seats, Sadulshahr and Sriganganagar. Congress has won on five seats – Shrikaranpur, Suratgarh, Raisingh Nagar, Sangaria, Pilibanga and independent candidate has won on Hanumangarh seat. In this time’s assembly elections, Congress has got 94340 votes more than BJP. BJP candidates got five lakh 94 thousand 651 votes and Congress candidates got six lakh 88 thousand 991 votes. Whereas in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP candidate Nihalchand Meghwal won by 406978 votes.
In the 2019 elections, Nihalchand Meghwal of BJP got 897177 votes and Bharatlal Meghwal of Congress got 490199 votes. While the BJP has weakened from the Lok Sabha elections to the 2023 Assembly elections, the Congress has emerged stronger. In current MP Nihalchand’s own assembly constituency Raisingh Nagar, Congress’s Sohanlal Nayak defeated BJP’s Balveer Singh Luthra by 14025 votes. While the current MP from Raisingh Nagar seat, Nihalchand’s grandfather Begaram has been MLA in 1972, Nihalchand Meghwal himself in 1998, his younger brother Lalchand Meghwal has been MLA in 2003.
The position of five-time BJP MP and former Union Minister Nihalchand Meghwal has weakened due to his party not being able to win even in his own assembly constituency. The way Congress has taken the lead in Sriganganagar Lok Sabha constituency in the 2023 assembly elections. Looking at this, it seems that in the next Lok Sabha elections also the Congress candidate will win from here. With Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajan Lal too, the saying that hail falls as soon as the head is shaved has come true. The Chief Minister had also made BJP candidate Surendrapal Singh TT the Minister of State with independent charge. But his move also failed and the voters of Srikaranpur assembly constituency have shown that he is not going to succumb to any greed by winning over Rupinder Singh Kunnar of Congress riding on the sympathy wave.
Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who was marginalized after the defeat in the assembly by-elections, can once again become vocal and mobilize her supporters. Recently, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi being in Jaipur for three consecutive days for the Conference of Inspectors General of Police, Vasundhara Raje did not consider it appropriate to meet him even once. It seems that he still has the pain of not being able to become the Chief Minister. Many senior MLAs supporting him have also been neglected in the cabinet formation.
However, the resignation of Surendra Pal Singh TT, who was made minister after losing in the assembly by-election, has been accepted. Looking at the way events have unfolded during the elections, it seems that the BJP government will take time to establish itself. Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma will have to solve the problems of the common people by sending all the ministers in his cabinet to different districts of the state. Till now the government ministers have mostly been sitting in the secretariat located in Jaipur. But the Chief Minister will have to change this tradition and work at the grassroots level to take care of the poor living at the end of the village, only then people will realize the change in power in the state. With the ministers being in the field, the problems of the common people will be resolved quickly and the government bureaucracy will also work actively.
In politics, there is always victory and defeat and there is no need for the government to be disappointed by the defeat of one by-election. When the government works sensitively, it will also rule the hearts of the people of the state. Currently 6 posts are vacant in the cabinet. On which ministers should also be appointed. So that the government can work in a bigger format. The upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be a big test for Chief Minister Bhajan Lal government. How successful he is in that. The future of his government depends on this.
-Ramesh Saraf Dhamora
(The author is an independent journalist recognized by the Government of Rajasthan. His articles are published in many newspapers of the country.)