Millennium Post

Jats keep both Cong and BJP guessing

The biggest caste group in the state, they are anywhere between 14 to 18 per cent of total voters, Jats remain divided in their loyalty despite attempts by the ruling party to rally them behind it in a state where effective social coalition is key to electoral victory.

Congress sources said the party has tried to give regional leaders a say in ticket distribution and even left the leadership question open if it comes back to power. Osian constituency in Jodhpur in a way is microcosm of the party’s worst fears about the Jat backlash and also how little it could do to tackle it. Its present MLA Mahipal Maderna, an influential Jat leader, is an accused in the sensational Bhanwari Devi rape and murder case and is behind bars. Congress has given ticket to not only his wife to fight elections but also the octogenarian mother of another co-accused Malkhan Singh Bishnoi from nearby Luni seat in its attempt to assuage both the communities.

Maderna’s father Parasram Maderna was a towering Jat leader who was pipped in the race to the CM’s chair by Ashok Gehlot in 1998. Gehlot is also accused of marginalising the influential Jat clans, like Madernas and Mirdhas, and his relation with the existing crop of community leaders like Sisram Ola and Sonaram Choudhary are hardly warm. Congress, however, has tried to mend fences in the run up to elections.
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