Rajasthan: Formation of new districts, Gehlot’s big move before elections

Rajasthan: Formation of new districts, Gehlot’s big move before elections

Sikar, Pali, and Banswara have now been elevated as the divisional headquarters

Manish GodhaUpdated: Saturday, March 18, 2023, 10:27 PM IST
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Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot | PTI

Jaipur: The formation of 19 new districts and three divisional headquarters in Rajasthan is being looked at as a big political and populist move of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot before the assembly elections scheduled December this year. The announcement will affect almost half of the state and 121 seats of the total 200 assembly seats.

The new 19 districts will be carved out from 13 districts including capital Jaipur and Jodhpur, the second biggest district after Jaipur and the hometown of Gehlot. Jaipur has been divided into four districts and Jodhpur into three.

The rest of the districts which were divided to form the new ones include Alwar, Ajmer, Bharatpur, Udaipur, Jalore, Sikar, Sriganganagar, Barmer, Nagour, Sawai Maddhopur, and Bhilwara.

Sikar, Pali, Banswara to be elevated as divisional headquarters

In addition, Sikar, Pali, and Banswara have now been elevated as the divisional headquarters.

These districts have 121 seats of the total 200 in the Rajasthan assembly where the ruling Congress has 64 and the opposition BJP 42. The rest 15 are with others mostly supporting Congress.

Interestingly by announcing new districts, Gehlot not only fulfilled the demand of his party or supporting MLAs but also of BJP. Five new districts Beawar, Anoopgarh, Shahpura, Phalodi, and Salumbar have BJP MLAs.

Facing factionalism and challenge to his authority in the party, Geholot has tried to reward those who stand with him during the time of crisis and also who may pose problems in future.

The new districts of Dudu and Gangapurcity have two independent MLAs Babulal Nagar and Ramkesh Meena who are Gehlot loyalists, while Kekri is the seat of former minister and senior leader Raghu Sharma who seemed to move to the dissident faction.

Move to strengthen Gehlot who is facing challenges within the party

“This will strengthen Gehlot who is facing challenges within the party as after a populist budget and with this big move, it would be difficult for the party high command to replace him or contest the election without his face in the front,” said a senior party leader.

The party leaders are confident that the formation of new districts will strengthen the poll prospects of the party in the state. “It is certainly a big move as this was a popular demand of the people from across the state and the CM has tried to fulfill it without any bias which has never happened earlier,” said Swarnim Chaturvedi, the spokesperson of the party.

Although, at the same time there are some apprehensions regarding the political benefit of the move as the committee formed to suggest the formation of new districts had got the demand for 60 new districts while Gehlot has formed only 19 so those who are left may change the picture.

This was indicated when one MLA Sandip Yadav resigned from the post of the chairman of a government body in the wake of not fulfilling his demand to announce his assembly seat in Tijara district.

Besides, disputes may arise while deciding the boundaries and sub-divisions of the new districts. BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ghanshyam Tiwari said, “It is not going to be easy as deciding the boundaries and sub-divisions has always been a matter of conflict and because not much time is left for the next elections, I doubt that the announcement will be earthed.”

Former CM Vasundhara Raje has criticised the announcement saying in a bid to fulfill personal political interests, the CM has put the entire economic system of the state at stake.

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