Rajasthan Bypolls 2018: Touted to be the semifinals before Assembly polls scheduled later this year, the crucial Rajasthan bypolls for two Lok Sabha and a Vidhan Sabha seats are set to be fought on the caste lines this time. The elections are a battle of prestige and dominance for BJP and Congress. While all the three seats were held by BJP earlier, retaining them will not be a cake-walk for the party due to a number of factors. On the other hand, Congress’ state unit chief Sachin Pilot is trying hard to prove his mettle in the state, earlier led by his senior colleague Ashok Gehlot. For BJP, a number of national and state-level developments have posed challenges. These include demonetisation and GST from Centre’s end, and encounter of gangster Anandpal and farm loan waiver issues from the state government. Keeping in mind the challenge, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje herself is campaigning in the constituencies. Same is the case with Pilot – who is hitting the roads to boost his party’s prospects. However, one factor is different in these elections in all the three constituencies – most of the candidates here have been fielded on the basis of caste.
For Ajmer, BJP has fielded former MP Sanwar Lal Jat’s son Ramswaroop Lamba for the seat. The Jats are second largest in numbers here after Schedule Caste voters. The seat has more than three lakh scheduled castes voters, following them are Jats with 2.5 lakh voters, then come Muslims, Rajputs and Gurjars – who form 2 lakh voters each. Others include more than 1.5 lakh Brahmins, Banias and Rawats and Malis voters. However, Congress has gone with the name of Raghu Sharma, a senior leader in Rajasthan Congress, who has served as the chief whip of the party in the state.
In Alwar, the Congress has fielded Karan Singh Yadav, while BJP has gone with Jaswant Singh Yadav. Both parties have targeted the dominant Yadav vote bank. There are more than two lakh Yadav voters in the constituency. The constituency has the equal number of Brahmins, Meos and scheduled castes (SCs) in total. The electorate here comprises of more than a lakh Meenas, 80,000 Malis and 50,000 Rajputs.
In Mandalgarh, Dhakar community forms the majority with more than 40,000 voters in the constituency. Besides, there are more than 30,000, SC/STs, more than 25,000 Brahmins, and around 10,000 Rajputs. Targeting the dominant Dhakars, Congress has fielded Vivek Dhakad – a locally popular leader. While BJP has gone with the name of Shakti Singh Hada, a senior BJP leader in the district.