With the election season due in the country, the political parties have started focusing on strengthening their holds in the five-state assembly election. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are the three of the five states where the BJP is in power and looks forward to retain it’s hold. If rumors are to be believed, Rajasthan probably will be the one giving maximum challenges to the ruling party in the upcoming elections. In its bid to increase party’s influence in Rajasthan the Congress has welcomed former BJP heavyweight Jaswant Singh’s son and ex-MLA Manvendra Singh in its fold. INC believed that by having Rajput leader in the party it could increase its chances of winning the Barmer-Jaisalmer constituency and other nearby areas having significant Rajput population. The plan however, seems to have backfired from the very start. It has led to unrest within the party itself. Former Congress parliamentarian, Harish Chaudhary who is a prominent Jat leader from the same constituency, has been the face of Congress since the past decade. Rajputs and Jats are political rivals in Rajasthan and the inclusion of Manvendra Singh in Congress will have bad implication on the ability of Congress to attract and retain Jat votes.
As per Economic Times report, Manvendra Singh is likely to get a say in the selection of candidates in the region, this would immediately result in sidelining of Harish Chaudhary and other Jat leaders, leaving them with no choice but to support some other candidate or join some other party. It seems that Manvendra Singh’s exit from BJP was not taken much seriously by the BJP as their core voter base will remain intact. However, Congress stands to lose the most in this scenario, with disgruntled Jat voters and uncertainty looming over Rajput voters as well.
Political analyst Rameshwar Singh Khangarot said, “Harish Choudhary is likely to take a back seat in the party’s state of affairs in Barmer with the excitement around Manvendra joining Congress. Jats are not happy.” He went on to add, “Even Harish Choudhary is said to have expressed his displeasure over this. This may have an impact on results on at least nine seats spread across Barmer and Jaisalmer districts.” The analysts also predict that with Manvendra Singh becoming the face of Congress, Jats are most likely to side with Col. Sonoram, the BJP candidate and is as popular as any other Jat leader from Jaisalmer and Barmer districts. The supporters of Jaswant and Manvendra Singh may well be in the fight but they are all set to face stiff opposition from the voters of the state in the elections to come.
The culture of asking for votes based on caste and religion was started by the Congress in the country and it feels like the same theories have come back to haunt the Congress itself after 70 years of Independence. Unfortunately, the Congress is at its weakest today and these misfortunes are coming at a time when it needs all the help for political redemption. Rajasthan will prove to be an even tougher battle for the Congress considering the impact of Manvendra Singh’s entry at the cost of a Jat leader’s sidelining from the party. This decision by the Congress Party will impact the mood of voters in other districts of Rajasthan as well.