The Congressís fourth list of candidates for poll-bound Rajasthan, released late Sunday night, threw up several surprises. BJP rebel Gopal Gahlot, who recently joined the Congress, has been fielded from Bikaner East.
Gahlot quit the BJP after differences with the Bikaner royal family scion and sitting legislator Siddhi Kumari. The move is likely to enthuse the Congress ranks in the district and give a boost to party workers in the constituency as Gahlot is expected to draw a large chunk of Mali, Pushkarna Brahmin and minority votes in the area.
The Congress released a list of 22 new candidates and one change in Jamwaramgarh, where Gopal Meena was replaced by Shankar Lal Meena. Dr Rekha Kataria, central minister Lal Chand Katariaís sister-in-law, was fielded from his stronghold Jhotwara constituency in Jaipur. In Bhilwara, Ram Pal Soni, a businessman, got the ticket, overthrowing contenders being pushed by the opposing Ashok Gehlot and CP Joshi camps. Soni was chosen owing to his apolitical image.
Dinesh Shrimali, who found a spot in Udaipur, too came as a surprise and is likely to turn around electoral politics in Mewar by drawing Brahmins who are upset with the BJP for not counting them in their lists so far.
With this the party has finalised its candidates for 198 out of 200 seats and the remaining two are likely to be declared on Monday.
Jaswant son in BJP list
The BJP too declared 20 candidates, taking the total to 195 seats. The party fielded Manvendra Singh, son of senior leader Jaswant Singh, from Sheo in Barmer. Singh has served as MP from Barmer from 2004 to 2009 and lost the parliamentary elections in 2009. Gopal Joshi has been named from Bikaner West, Nirmal Kumawat from Phulera, Maman Yadav from Tijara, Rajkumari Jatav from Hindaun City. In Osian, Bhaira Ram will face former minister Mahipal Madernaís wife Leela Maderna.