After the stupendous show in Uttar Pradesh, the Dholpur Assembly by-election due next month, has become a prestige issue for the BJP and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. The seat fell vacant after BSP MLA BL Kushwaha had to leave after being convicted in a murder case. Interestingly, the BJP has fielded Shobha Rani Kushwaha, wife of BL Kushwaha, for the by-election.
Several senior leaders, including Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf, Panchayati Raj Minister Rajendra Rathore, Transport Minister Yunus Khan, Water Resources Minister Dr. Ram Pratap, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Arun Chaturvedi, MP Dr. Manoj Rajouria alongwith several other party leaders have been involved in high voltage campaigning in Dholpur. BJP state president Ashok Parnami and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's son and Jhalawar MP, Dushyant Singh, have also camped in Dholpur. Vasundhara may also visit the constituency and campaign for the BJP candidate.
Elections are due in Rajasthan next year and if the BJP loses, it may be interpreted as a loss of face for the ruling party. The anxiety within the party can be gauged from some of the statements made during the campaigning.
ANXIETY OVER ELECTION
Kalicharan Saraf said there will be less developmental work if the BJP candidate does not win. He also said that the village people will have to work with Rajendra Rathore.
"If Shobha Rani wins, our doors will always be open for you," he stated.
Vasundhara Raje came to power in Rajasthan with more than three-fourth majority. The result of the Dholpur by-election is unlikely to have any substantial impact on Rajasthan government's overall stability. However, its symbolic nature has made it significant and one that will have several political pundits keeping a keen eye on.
Shobha Rani was accompanied by BJP state president Ashok Parnami and Jhalawar MP Dushyant Singh when she went to file her nomination papers. The Congress, on the other hand, has been a slow starter. It will be fielding Banwari Lal Sharma, a five time MLA. He is yet to file his nomination papers. He is likely to be accompanied by senior party leaders such as state PCC chief Sachin Pilot, former CM Ashok Gehlot, CP Joshi and Gurudas Kamat when he goes to file his nomination.