In north-west Rajasthan’s Alwar, the BJP would go to the people banking on the developmental works, it claims, its government did in the last five years, amid the Congress’ assertion of no growth and progress at all in the area. The Congress accused the BJP of failing in providing drinking water and roads besides inducing an all out developmental lag in the district, notified as part of the National Capital Region. The saffron party, however, has countered the Congress’ claim citing benefits of the Centre’s Ujjwala scheme and state’s Bhamashah scheme.
Alwar with its 11 assembly seats, spread across 8,380 sq kms, has a population of 36.74 lakh with females constituting over 17.35 lakh, according to the 2011 census. About 30.17 lakh of them reside in rural areas. As per the 2013 assembly polls figures, Alwar’s eleven assembly segments together had a total of 20,62,966 voters, including 11,08,086 males, 9,54,880 females and 13,572 service voters.
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Alwar’s total population includes around 9 lakh scheduled castes and scheduled tribes with Mevs of Muslim community having a sizeable presence in constituencies like Tijara and Ramgarh, infamous for mob lynchings by cow vigilantes. In the 2013 assembly elections, the BJP had won nine out of 11 seats in Alwar but the election figures thrown up after a 2018 Lok Sabha bypolls, necessitated due to the death of Alwar’s BJP MP Mahant Chandnath Yogi show that the electoral winds that blew in the favour BJP during the 2013 assembly elections, might have reversed in the favour of the Congress.
The Alwar Lok Sabha seat falling vacant by Yogi’s death was grabbed by Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress with a huge margin of over 1.96 lakh votes and he had demonstrated an edge over the BJP in most of the 11 assembly seats within the Alwar Lok Sabha constituency. Yadav now is contesting the upcoming assembly polls from Alwar, imparting the requisite impetus to the Congress in all assembly segments across Alwar, where it had established a clear lead over the BJP.
“Our only agenda is development, the usual one since beginning. We want to fight the polls on basis of developmental works done in Rajasthan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje,” BJP’s Alwar unit chief Sanjay Singh Narooka told PTI. He said the BJP government has worked for upliftment of the poor, who have been largely benefitted from the healthcare schemes like Bhamashah and government’s initiatives on education.
The BJP has provided LPG gas connections to the households and a Rs 1,000 crore worth Amrit scheme was being implemented to resolve the drinking water problem in Alwar, which falls in ‘dark zone’, he added. “The Congress only used to talk about working for the poor, but the BJP has positively worked for it,” Narooka asserted. On the issue of civic amenities, he said the focus has been on developing the rural areas with “Gaurav Paths”, as well as the urban streets, which had been in bad shape due to improper sewer lines in the city.
The Congress’ Alwar unit chief Tikaram Jully, however, sought to enlist a slew of shortcomings in the BJP’s governance and developmental works in Alwar district. He said the previous Congress government in the state had secured the Centre’s approval for several projects, including one for the establishment of an ESIC medical college and hospital in Alwar, but the BJP failed to pursue it. He claimed the medical college plan was cancelled because the BJP could not identify the site for the medical college in five years.
He said the work on a university and 12 paramilitary recruitment and training centres that were brought to Alwar by the previous Congress regime have been going on at a snail’s pace for the last five years during the present regime. Even the height of a mini secretariat which had been proposed to be a five-storey structure has been reduced to a three-storey one by the Raje government, he said.
“These works could have emerged as milestones in the development of Alwar,” said Jully, who will be contesting the assembly polls from one of the assembly seats in the Alwar district. On the national level, he said, the BJP talked of building Ram temple, cleaning the Ganga and making smart cities, but it was the Congress which introduced the schemes like MNREGA, the Food Security Act, Indira Awas Yojna and the Right to Information Act among others. Additionally, Jully said, former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s had distributed laptops to youths under the Digital Education scheme in the state.
“The BJP government has only reduced the number of beneficiaries in various public welfare schemes like the pension schemes and the food security programme. “Promises of jobs to the youths and doubling the farmers’ income have so far remained unfulfilled. They neither waived the farmers’ loan nor bought their crops at the enhanced ‘minimum support price as promised,” he alleged. Jully said the Congress was now focussing on farmers, youths, middle class and small traders and exuded confidence of adding to the momentum established during its victory in the Alwar Lok Sabha bypoll.
The elections to the 200 assembly seats in Rajasthan would be held on December 7 and its results will be declared on December 11. In 2013, the BJP had won 8 out of 11 seats in Alwar with a vote share of 41.6 per cent. The Congress had been able to manage victory on a single seat with its vote share being just 26.8 per cent. Eleven assembly segments of Alwar are Alwar urban, Alwar rural, Tijara, Ramgarh, Behror, Bansur, Kishangarh-Bas, Thanagazi, Kathumar, Mundawar and Rajgarh-Laxmangarh. Two of these assembly seats are reserved.