Rajasthan Lok Sabha Elections 2024: No Congress MP From State In Past 10 Yrs

Rajasthan Lok Sabha Elections 2024: No Congress MP From State In Past 10 Yrs

The BJP won from all 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state in 2014, when it was the ruling party there

PTIUpdated: Saturday, March 16, 2024, 06:07 PM IST
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CONG'S RAHUL KASWAN VS BJP'S DEVENDRA JHAJHARIA IN CHURU, RAJASTHAN | X

Jaipur: In the last two parliamentary elections, the Congress has not won a single seat in Rajasthan - whether or not it was in power in the state. The BJP wants to keep it that way. The BJP won from all 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state in 2014, when it was the ruling party there. In 2019, a few months after the Congress assumed charge in Jaipur, the BJP still won 24, with the remaining Lok Sabha seat going to ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Party.

Rajasthan will go to the polls on April 19 and 26, the first two phases of the Lok Sabha elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party appears to be in a dominant position again this time, particularly after sweeping the assembly polls just months back. It now hopes that its "double-engine government" narrative will click with the electorate, and the euphoria over the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya will bring in a hat trick.

But there are bumps in the road

Despite the party winning 115 of the 200 seats in the November 2023 assembly polls, it faced an embarrassment only weeks later. It lost the Karanpur seat, even after it had elevated its candidate there by making him a minister. More recently, Churu MP Rahul Kaswan switched sides after the BJP didn't give him the ticket again.

The BJP, now in power in Rajasthan, also faces rising expectations from sections in communities like Meena, Gurjars and Jats. Some in the Meena community are unhappy that Kirodi Lal Meena, who seemed to be in the race for the CM's post, didn't make it. Gurjars were looking for better representation in the new BJP cabinet, after their disillusionment with the Congress for "ignoring" Sachin Pilot.

Impact of Jats agitation

Jats from Bharatpur and Dholpur districts launched an agitation in January, seeking their entry into the Other Backward Class quota at the central level. But these are small problems compared to the ones faced by the Congress, whose strength in Rajasthan has been sapped by the running feud between former CM Ashok Gehlot and his one-time deputy Sachin Pilot.

Former minister and four- time MLA Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya resigned from the Congress last month and joined the BJP. Jyoti Mirdha, who left the Congress before the assembly elections last year, has got the BJP ticket from Nagaur.

Mirdha expected to counter the influence of Hanuman Beniwal's RLP

Former Congress MLAs Richhpal Mirdha, his son Vijaypal Mirdha, former independent MLA Alok Beniwal and former state Seva Dal chief Suresh Chaudhary too left the Congress. Malviya's defection could help the BJP to cement its position in the Vagad region of Banswara and Dungarpur, an area where Bharat Adivasi Party is gaining influence.

Mirdha is also expected to counter the influence of Hanuman Beniwal's Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) which won the Nagaur seat as a BJP ally in 2019, but parted ways over the farmers' issue. In the assembly polls, the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) was a key poll plank for the Congress. It slammed the BJP-led central government for not giving it a "national project" status.

In its first list for 15 seats, the BJP retained eight MPs and gave tickets to new faces on seven seats

Now, when a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Centre and BJP-run Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments for preparing a joint project report, the ruling party claims to have resolved the matter. In its first list for 15 seats, the BJP retained eight MPs and gave tickets to new faces on seven seats.

Two of these seven seats had fallen vacant after the sitting MPs won the 2023 assembly elections. Altogether, five MPs were fielded by the BJP in the assembly polls. In contrast, the Congress wants some of its prominent MLAs to contest the Lok Sabha polls, sources say. But they appear reluctant to take the plunge.

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