Empathetic win by Congress in Rajasthan bypolls; CM Ashok Gehlot confident of party retaining power in 2023

BJP’s candidates ended up at the third and fourth spot in tribal reserved seats of Dhariyawad and Vallabhnagar respectively where bypolls were held. The Congress now has 108 seats in a House of 200

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (Photo courtesy: IANS)
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (Photo courtesy: IANS)

Prakash Bhandari

The Congress has emerged victorious in the two by-polls held for the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha, trouncing the BJP in the tribal reserved seats of Dhariyawad and Vallabhnagar.

The Dhariyawad seat was won by the BJP in the past two elections and the ruling Congress has now wrested the seat from it by pushing the saffron party to the third spot. In Vallabhnagar, Congress retained the seat, pushing the BJP candidate to the fourth spot. The Congress now has 108 seats in a House of 200.

These incredible victories in the two by-elections now and two other by-elections earlier in the year show that the people have voted for the Congress for its effective administration and efficient handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Congress candidate Nagraj Meena won the Dhariyawad seat by a massive margin of 18,725 votes, while Priti Shaktawat, the widow of late legislator Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, whose death caused the by-election, won Vallabhnagar by a margin of over 21,000 votes, polling 35.9 per cent of votes.

In both Dhariyawad and Vallabhnagar, the BJP lost miserably mainly because of the infighting in the party. The BJP state president Satish Poonia is being squarely blamed for nominating ‘wrong’ candidates that left the party divided and resulted in poor performance by its candidates.

Priti Shaktawat, who was riding on a sympathy wave, was involved in a four-cornered battle. The BJP’s senior leader and leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria wanted to give the nomination to Nand Lal Dangi, but the BJP fielded a Rajput, Himmat Singh Jhala, who finished fourth behind former BJP MLA Randhir Singh Bhinder who contested as an Independent and secured 43,519 votes (23.94 percent).

Dangi, who contested as Rashtriya Loktantrik party’s candidate, secured 44,978 votes (24.65 percent) while BJP candidate Jhala could secure only 21,433 votes (11.71 percent).

In Dhariyawad, the BJP’s party was spoiled by the Bharatiya Tribal Party’s (BTP) candidate Thawar Chand, who secured 50,809 votes as compared to the BJP’s Khet Singh, who got 46,367 votes while the winner, Congress’ Nagraj Meena secured 69,556 votes. The BTP is a party of the tribals and it had won three seats in the last Vidhan Sabha elections.

Winning four of the five Vidhan Sabha seats in by-poll shows the continuing popularity of the Congress since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party had come to power in Rajasthan in 2018 under the leadership of Sachin Pilot, who led the party from the front.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that the results of the two by-elections show the BJP in a poor light and the people of the two rural seats have showed that the rural people opposed the farm laws and the rise in petrol and diesel prices.

Gehlot said the party would retain power in the next Vidhan Sabha election.

PCC president Govind Singh Dotasara thanked the people for making the Congress candidates victorious and teaching the BJP a lesson.

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