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Rajasthan elections: Can BJP counter the Rajput fury?

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Jaipur, Oct 22: Among the five states that go to polls, the BJP will find the going hardest in Rajasthan, analysts have pointed out. There are several issues that the BJP that is in power in the state is facing.

Rajasthan elections: Can BJP counter the Rajput fury?

While anti-incumbency is one factor, Rajasthan has also had the revolving door policy and every recent election in the last four rounds has seen an alternate party coming to power.

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While these are some factors that could worry the BJP, the other issue is relating to the Rajputs, which has been a traditional vote bank of the party. The relation with the Rajputs have been on the downslide since 2016. The recent move by Manvendra Singh, MLA and son of former union minister and Rajput leader, Jaswant Singh has only made matters worse for the BJP.

There have been a series of incidents in the recent past that have angered the Rajputs. Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje had opposed the choice of Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as the state unit chief. The encounter of Anandpal Singh and the Padmavavat controversy have also angered the Rajputs to a large extent.

The Rajput influence:

The Rajputs have a major influence in Rajasthan. They account for 12 per cent of the state's population and have an influence in at least 24 assembly seats. The Rajput base was set for the BJP in a big way by Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who was a three time CM of Rajasthan.

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Another incident that has angered the Rajputs is the manner non which the sealing of the main entrance of the Rajmahal Palace took place during an encroachment drive. Padmini Devi of the erstwhile royal family had taken out a public protest against the sealing of the main entrance of the palace. The Rajput community feel that Raje had insulted the family and said that the manner in which the entrance of the palace was locked was wrong.

The Padmaavat protests too has angered the Rajputs no end. The community felt that the government had wronged them by giving permission to shoot the film in Rajasthan.

Although the government had banned the film at the time of its release, the community felt that the action had come too late.

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The encounter of Anandpal Singh too became a rallying point for the Rajputs against the government. Singh a gangster hailed from the Ravana Rajput community. The Rajput bodies demanded a CBI probe into the killing despite the Ravana Rajput community being considered as an inferior caste.

The Rajputs are also upset with Raje for opposing the choice of Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as the state unit chief. The BJP's central leadership had suggested this to placate the Rajputs, but Raje remained adamant and Rajya Sabha MP, Madanlal Saini, an OBC was made the state unit's chief.

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