BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia will arrive in Rajasthan on Sunday to campaign for the April 17 by-poll in Sahada in Bhilwara district. This will be Scindia’s first visit to Rajasthan since joining the BJP in 2020.
By-polls will be held in Sujangarh (Churu District), Sahada (Bhilwara district) and Rajsamand on April 17. Deaths of the sitting MLAs necessitated the by-polls. Sujangarh and Sahada were held by the Congress while Rajsamand was with the BJP. While Congress is expected to retain Sujangarh and BJP is likely to win Rajsamand, a tough battle is on for Sahada.
The by-polls are a battle of prestige for chief minister Ashok Gehlot as well as state BJP chief Satish Poonia and both parties are leaving no stone unturned to win the elections.
The results will be seen as a mandate on the working of the state government and Gehlot is keen to win all three seats. Similarly, the election outcome will be a test of whether Poonia has been successful in strengthening the state BJP unit and taking on former chief minister Vasundhara Raje who is said to be unhappy at being sidelined.
The BJP has included Raje in the list of star campaigners for the BJP but she has stayed away from the campaign, citing her daughter-in-law’s ill health.
With Raje absent from the campaign for the by-polls in the state and many senior leaders busy in the Bengal election, the BJP tweaked its strategy and asked Scindia to campaign in Gangapur in Sahada constituency. Apart from Scindia, Union minister Smriti Irani will campaign for the party in Sujangarh on Monday.
In Sahada, the BJP has fielded Ratan Lal Jat, 73, a former minister while the Congress has given the ticket to Gayatri Devi, wife of late MLA Kailash Trivedi and hopes to win sympathy votes.
BJP is hoping that Scindia’s entry could pull votes in its favour as the Scindia family has historical ties with Gangapur. A dozen odd villages in Sahada area including Gangapur were under the erstwhile Scindia royal family. The Scindia connect goes back 230 years when a daughter of the Mewar royal family, Gangabai, was married into Gwalior. It is said that Gangabai travelled to Udaipur to resolve a tiff between the rulers of Udaipur and Deogarh. On her way back to Gwalior, Gangabai passed away in Lalpura village near Gangapur. Her last rites were conducted there.
As per the prevailing custom, a place where final rites of any royal were conducted, that place had to be part of the royal family. So Gangapur was named after Gangabai and brought under the Gwalior royal family. A temple and Chhatri were also built dedicated to Gangabai.
In Sujangarh, Congress has fielded Manoj Meghwal, 45, the son of late Bhanwarlal Meghwal who was a minister in the Gehlot cabinet. The BJP has put up former minister Khema Ram Meghwal, 55.
In Rajsamand, BJP has fielded 34-year-old Deepti Maheshwari, the daughter of late MLA Kiran Maheshwari. The Congress has nominated Tansukh Bohra, 45, a marble businessman with no political background.