Cong fields Jaswant's son against Rajasthan CM
New Delhi: The battle of ballots for the Rajasthan Assembly election has become more interesting for both the Congress and BJP after the former fielded Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra against the latter's chief ministerial candidate Vasundhara Raje from Jhalrapatan constituency for December 7 poll. The decision of the Congress to field Jaswant Singh's son against Raje has also put pollsters in surprise as they had anticipated a 'comfortable' win for the heavyweight leaders. The move is also seen as a message by the Congress that it isn't afraid of taking the chief minister head-on in her home turf.
The announcement created a buzz among the leaders of both the factions soon after the Congress released its second list of 32 candidates on Saturday. In total, the Congress has declared its candidates for 184 constituencies out of total 200 seats. It has been learned that remaining six seats would be shared between Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal, which is led by Ajit Singh.
Reacting to the decision, Congress leader Manvendra Singh, who had joined Congress in October after quitting BJP, said, "I'm honoured that Rahul Gandhi ji and Congress Central Election Committee (CEC) thought it useful for me to contest. I'm touched by responsibility shown towards me. I accept the responsibility and will run a fair campaign." Singh also warned that people of Rajasthan will take revenge from the BJP for insulting Rajput leader Jaswant Singh.
Unfazed by the decision of the Congress to bring a 'strong' Rajput candidate in the poll ring, Raje said, "The Congress could not find any candidate and he (Manvendra Singh) was to be given ticket from somewhere and therefore, he was sent here (Jhalrapatan)." "But they should know that it is not a fight of one person, this is a contest fought by Jhalawar and Rajasthan, which is a family," she said.
It's worth mentioning that Manvendra Singh and his father — who has been 'ignored' by BJP for the last four years — had been upset with the saffron since the party denied the veteran his wish to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Barmer, which is his home base. Jaswant Singh contested as an independent and lost to the BJP candidate.
The 54-year-old Rajasthan lawmaker quit the BJP on September 22 with a parting shot "kamal ka phool, hamaari bhool" (lotus was my mistake). He had also lashed out at the BJP for its style of functioning at the Centre and the state. Manvendra had joined the Congress on October 17 in the presence of Congress national president Rahul Gandhi. On the joining day, Manvendra had said, "I have left BJP because of some personal and public reasons. The situation there in Rajasthan, and especially the government who is troubling our supporters (Sswabhiman Sena). The decision was not mine but taken collectively during a meeting to protect our respect."
Meanwhile, Raje had retained her Jhalrapatan seat in the 2013 assembly election with a margin of 60,896 votes by securing 63.14 per cent of total 2,28,977 votes, while Congress candidate Meenakshi Chandrawat, who stood on the second position, had secured 29.53 per cent votes in the polls.