Ujjain: Frail health and age factor appear to be creating problems for both BJP and Congress candidates in Ujjain North constituency. BJP candidate Paras Jain, who is 68-year-old, can be seen taking the help of an auto-rickshaw for canvassing. He is suffering from knee and joint problem.
Congress candidate Rajendra Bharti, who is 62-year-old, chooses to canvass in the densely populated areas so that he can take rest during canvassing. Jain had a bypass a couple of years ago while angioplasty on Bharti’s heart was conducted little earlier. Both are senior politicians of Ujjain now and keep have immense experience of fighting elections. Both are gasping and still are putting up a brave front.
Keen Contest in Offing
This time Ujjain North constituency is going to see quite an interesting contest as sitting BJP MLA Paras Jain (energy minister) would take on Congress’ former MLA Rajendra Bharti for the third time. Both of them had contested against each other twice and won each. Bharti defeated Jain in 1998 election, but lost to him in 2003 election. So this will be third fight between them after 15 years and it will be cleared only on December 11 that whether Bharti repeats 1998 history or Jain maintains 2003 record.
Jain is the only candidate in Ujjain district’s assembly election history that he who would be contesting seventh election in continuation from the same seat and from the same party. So far as Bharti is concerned, he is the only Congress candidate who is challenging Jain for the third time.
Likewise, Bharti focused his election campaign in Muslim-Bohra and OBC dominated areas on Sunday. Apart from Congress functionaries and workers, he was accompanied by leaders of the said communities and castes. His wife and daughter-inlaw were also present. He use to accomplish his campaign in two parts that is pre-lunch and post-lunch. On being asked as if he suffers tiredness on visiting nook and corner of his constituency, he termed himself as ‘galiwala’.
Muslims Deciding Factor
Total number of electorates in Ujjain North constituency is 2, 17, 439. 1, 11, 206 (more than 50%) of them belong to age group between 18 to 39 years and number of first time voters is 5071. Total number of male voters is 1, 10, 417 while that of female voters is 1, 07, 010 and 18 third gender voters also reside in this constituency. As per estimations number of upper caste voters is 61, 000 and Jain belongs to this category. Number of OBC voters is about 55, 000 and Bharti belongs to this category. Number of Muslim and Bohra voters is estimated to be 45,000 and if they vote in higher numbers the outcome may be surprising this time.
Comfort Is Must
On Sunday, Jain canvassed in BJP dominated pockets under ward 29. He was accompanied by several party corporators, functionaries, workers, social activists, besides his wife and other family members. On being asked by Free Press Jain said that he would win the election by more than 30, 000 votes. When asked whether he experience trouble during hectic canvassing, he said that amid huge public support he has successfully crossed halfway mark of electioneering.
‘Hired’ Workers Roped in, Opponents Shifted Elsewhere
During BJP candidate Paras Jain’s campaigning, more than one dozen persons including women and few youngsters were seen escorting the canvassing team. They had carried party flags and umbrellas. When Jain rode on the auto-rickshaw to reach the destined point of canvassing, such hired workers were seen resting on the roadside under the cover of BJP umbrellas. An old-age hired worker Shriram resident of Piliyakhal said that he was brought for campaigning for the first time. On the other hand, party strategists shifted Anil Jain Kaluheda and Rameshwar Dubey to Ujjain South. Both of them are reported to be opponents of Paras Jain and were front runners for the party ticket. Another front runner for ticket and Ujjain Municipal Corporation president Sonu Gehlot remained conspicuous due to his continuous absence from Jain’s campaigning. Kaluheda and Dubey have been made election in-charge and co-in-charge, respectively, of BJP’s Ujjain South constituency.