Hoping to give Gehlot a tough fight, BJP may field Rajput candidate against him
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The BJP, chalking out plans to corner Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on his home turf Sardarpura in Jodhpur, is mulling pitting a Rajput candidate against him. The Opposition view is that Gehlot, who is from the Mali community, has been facing weaker Mali candidates and a Rajput candidate could give him a good fight.
Out of approximately 2.25 lakh voters, the constituency has around 40,000 Rajput voters and roughly the same number of Malis. Following delimitation in 2008, Rajputs are believed to have become the dominant communit.y in this constituency with two wards of Mali voters getting included in Soorsagar constituency.
If there is a Mali candidate against Gehlot, the community is sure to back the chief minister as he is the stronger candidate. He has also been five-time MP from Jodhpur.
Jats and Vishnois comprise 20,000 voters and there is a significant number of Kayamkhani Muslims, too, to shape the voting pattern here.
Gehlot commands a considerable following in the constituency where he has been actively pushing development projects, which is another reason why the need for a strong candidate is being felt.
The view is that even if the candidate loses, at least Gehlot's winning margin would be thinned.
In the assembly elections of 2003 and 2008, despite facing weaker candidates from the same community, Gehlot won by a margin of approximately 17,000 and 12,000 votes respectively.
The seat has been held by a Mali candidate since 1957 but the clamour for a Rajput candidate has been louder this time and could translate into reality in the December polls.
In the parliamentary elections of 2009, Chandresh Kumari Katoch, a Rajput and now Union Minister of Culture, was fielded by the Congress against sitting MP Jaswant Singh Bishnoi contesting for the third time. The BJP candidate was defeated and the party would not want to alienate the Rajput community in this constituency any further and is likely to give them representation in the assembly elections.
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