Raje seeks election from Jhalrapatan

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Jhalawar, Nov 25 (UNI) Sailing on her popularity among voters for development in this backward district during her tenure, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is seeking her third entry to Rajasthan Assembly from Jhalrapatan.

Raje had won her maiden assembly election on home turf of Dholpur in 1985 when she defeated Congress rival Banwari Lal Sharma.

Later she shifted to national politics after winning Lok Sabha election from Jhalawar in 1989 and held the seat for four more terms in a row in 1991, 1996, 1998, 2000. She returned to state politics again in 2002 to lead the BJP in 2003 assembly elections as its state president.

She had won election from Jhalrapatan to lead the party government as first woman Chief Minister.

She also suffered defeat at the hustings in Dholpur in 1993 when the party had opted to field her.

Presently she is facing comparatively light weight rivals former MLA Mohan Lal(Congress), Abdul Karim Siddique(BSP) and nine others.

Jhalrapatan is one of the four assembly segments in the district inhabitated mainly by rural backward communities and Dalits, including Meghwal, Patidar, Bairwa and Gujjars.

Gujjars constitute a 20,000 strong group followed by other castes which numbered between 5,000 to 15000.

Since her emergence in Jhalawar in 1989, the dusty backward district in South Eastern Rajasthan has transformed into a fast developing destination with infrastructure facilities like ultra- modern district hospital, stadium, modern medical college and several other institutions coming up.

While Raje's campaigners are seeking votes on the development plank, her rivals particularly the Congress nominee Mohan Lal, were raking up the issues of alleged corruption, misrule and mishandling of Gujjar agitation which had resulted into deaths of over 70 people in police firings.

Raje's detractors are trying to capitalise on Gujjars' resentment against her government.

At one point of time rebel BJP legislator Gujjar leader Prahlad Gunjal had generated some heat by announcing his resolve to contest the seat against Raje but this did not last for long as the Gujjar leader finally gave up to contest Hindoli in Bundi district.

Another Gujjar leader former Jhalawar Zila Pramukh Sujan Singh who had held the seat for more than once, was also persuaded to contest the seat against Raje but seemingly her campaign managers have succeeded in settling things with Gujjar leaders amicably.

Raje who is spearheading the BJP campaign in the state, so far has visited the constituency only once to file nomination and the rest of her campaign is being led by her MP son Dushyant Singh, and Public Grievances Redressal Committee Chairman SN Gupta.

UNI SS RC KN1159

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