This time Congress party does not want to remain empty handed in Rajasthan Lok Sabha elections.

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Congress Party has not yet announced the name of any candidate for Rajasthan in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Whereas BJP has announced the names of candidates for 15 out of 25 seats. The names of a total of 39 candidates across the country have been announced so far by the Congress Election Committee. The names of many other candidates are going to be announced by the Congress Party in the coming day or two. In which names of candidates from Rajasthan are also said to be included. The reason behind the delay in announcing the names of candidates in Rajasthan is being said to be the possibility of the Congress Party forming an electoral alliance with two regional parties in the state.

The Congress Party could not even open its account in the Lok Sabha elections in Rajasthan for the last two times. BJP candidates had won all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state both the times. But this time in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress wants to field such candidates who will not only give a tough competition to the BJP candidates but will also be able to open the account of victory in the state. The Congress party, which had lost the assembly elections three months ago, now has nothing left to lose in the state.

In such a situation, the central leaders of Congress believe that in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Congress will contest the elections with full strength following the policy of do or die. In this series, all the state level big leaders of Congress will also be fielded in the elections. However, many big leaders of Congress are reluctant to contest the Lok Sabha elections. But looking at the way the Congress high command has fielded former Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in Chhattisgarh, it seems that now big Congress leaders will have to contest elections in Rajasthan too.

Former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is considered the biggest leader of Congress in Rajasthan. But in his home constituency Jodhpur, Congress is losing twice in a row. Last time, his son Vaibhav Gehlot had lost the election to BJP’s Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat by more than 3 lakh votes. Therefore, this time the Congress high command itself is going to field Ashok Gehlot from Jodhpur. Ashok Gehlot has become MP from Jodhpur five times and MLA for the sixth time from Sardarpur in Jodhpur parliamentary constituency. In such a situation, there is a possibility that the election contest will be tough due to Ashok Gehlot contesting his own elections. Ashok Gehlot’s contesting the Lok Sabha elections will have an impact on other Lok Sabha seats in the state as well and the Congress party will be strengthened.

Similarly, Congress National General Secretary and former state president Sachin Pilot will contest from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur seat. Pilot is currently MLA from Tonk and has previously been MP from Dausa and Ajmer. State Congress President Govind Singh Dotasara will be made to contest from Sikar Lok Sabha seat. Dotasara has won the MLA election for the fourth time from Laxmangarh of Sikar Lok Sabha constituency. Govind Ram Meghwal, who was a cabinet minister in the previous Gehlot government, will be made to contest from Bikaner reserved seat.

Former minister Murarilal Meena will be made to contest from Dausa parliamentary seat. Last time, the ticket was given to his wife Savita Meena who lost the election to BJP’s Jaskaur Meena by 78444 votes. There is talk of making former MP and former minister Raghu Sharma contest elections from Ajmer. Raghu Sharma has lost the assembly elections from Kekri this time. Former minister Harish Chaudhary can be made to contest elections from Barmer. Harish Chaudhary is currently an MLA and has also been an MP from Barmer in the past.

Former Assembly Speaker CP Joshi can be made to contest elections from Rajsamand. CP Joshi had lost the last assembly elections from Nathdwara seat. In the past, he has been MLA and MP from Bhilwara many times, minister in central government, state president and national general secretary and is considered a big leader in Rajasthan Congress. There is a discussion going on to make former minister Shanti Dhariwal contest elections from Kota. Dhariwal is currently an MLA from Kota North and has previously been an MP from Kota, the district chief of Kota and a minister several times.

The name of former minister Pramod Jain Bhaya is in discussion from Jhalawar seat. There is talk of making Raghuveer Meena contest elections from Udaipur seat. Although Raghuveer Meena has lost many elections in the past, still he has emerged as the strongest candidate of Congress from Udaipur. He has been an MP from Udaipur several times in the past. After Mahendrajit Singh Malviya joining BJP, the claim of sitting MLA Nanalal Nibhana on Banswara-Dungarpur seat is getting stronger. However, Congress is discussing an alliance with the Bharatiya Tribal Party. If there is an alliance then Congress will have to leave the Banswara seat. Congress can field minority community MLA Salim Kaggi from Jaipur city. Kaggi has become MLA for the second time and is a major minority face in Congress. It is considered certain that Congress National General Secretary Bhanwar Jitendra Singh will contest the election from Alwar. Jitendra Singh has previously been an MP, MLA from Alwar and a minister in the central government. Former Revenue Minister Ramlal Jat will contest from Bhilwara and Divya Maderna will contest from Pali. Former minister Vijendra Ola will be made to contest elections in Jhunjhunu. Vijendra Ola’s father Shishram Ola was MP from Jhunjhunu for five consecutive terms and cabinet minister in the central government. Vijendra Ola is currently MLA from Jhunjhunu for the fourth time and was Minister of State in the Gehlot government. BJP MP from Churu Rahul Kaswan may become the Congress candidate. BJP has canceled the ticket of Rahul Kaswan. Rahul Kaswan is MP from Churu for the second time. His father Ramsingh Kaswan has been MP from Churu four times and MLA from Rajgarh. In such a situation, Congress wants Rahul Kaswan to contest elections on Congress ticket.

In Rajasthan, Congress wants to contest elections by strengthening the India alliance in the state by forming an electoral alliance with Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party and Bharatiya Adivasi Party. Hanuman Beniwal is demanding Nagaur and Barmer seats and Bharatiya Adivasi Party is demanding Banswara-Dungarpur and Udaipur seats. In such a situation, senior Congress leaders are busy finalizing the alliance by talking to the leaders of both the regional parties. Along with the announcement of alliance with both the regional parties in Rajasthan, Congress will also release the list of names of its candidates.

-Ramesh Saraf Dhamora

(The author is an independent journalist accredited by the Government of Rajasthan.)

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