Rajasthan Congress leaders, workers put up a show of unity ahead of by-polls in Vallabhnagar and Dhariawad
CM Ashok Gehlot, AICC general secretary Ajay Maken, state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasara and Sachin Pilot along with thousands of party workers accompanied the candidates to file nominations
Congress leaders and workers put up a huge show of unity ahead of the Assembly by-polls for the Vallabhnagar and Dhariawad seats in southern Rajasthan.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot along with AICC general secretary Ajay Maken, Rajasthan Congress president Govind Singh Dotasara and former deputy CM Sachin Pilot along with thousands of party workers accompanied the candidates to file their nominations. They had flown from Jaipur together in a helicopter and on reaching Vallabhnagar, Pilot drove the car with Gehlot sitting next to him.
The elections in the two constituencies are due on October 30.
Showing tremendous enthusiasm, a large number of party workers joined the rally which was addressed by the senior party leaders.
The Congress has fielded Priti Shaktawat, wife of the deceased Congress MLA Gajendra Singh Shaktawat whose death necessitated the by-election in Vallabhnagar. She would face BJP’s Himmat Singh, a relatively new face.
The Dhariawad seat, a constituency reserved for tribals, was won by the BJP’s Gautam Lal Meena in the 2018 Assembly election. His death due to Covid necessitated the by-election there.
The Congress has fielded Nagraj Meena as its candidate while the BJP has nominated Khet Singh as its candidate.
Senior BJP party leader and former minister Gulab Chand Kataria had a large say in nominating the two BJP candidates. He refused to give tickets to the kith and kin of Gautam Meena, who had won the seat and instead decided in favour of Khet Singh, a Kataria loyalist. However, there was a lot of dissension among the party's workers on the way the nomination of the candidates was made, which may help Congress win both the seats.
The Congress fielded Priti Shaktawat as a large number of party workers were in her favour. Devendra Singh Shaktawat, the brother of late Gajendra Singh Shaktwat, was also in the fray for the party’s nomination.
Earlier this year, in the three by-elections for the Vidhan Sabha, the Congress won two seats of Sahara and Sujangarh, while the BJP won the Rajsamand seat.
Both Gehlot and Pilot were warmly cheered by the crowd as they rose to address the rally. Gehlot had stepped out to address a rally for the first time in the past eight months. He was confined to his home during the Covid pandemic and administered the state from home after the Gehlot government won the vote of trust in the Rajasthan Assembly.
Gehlot said all the leaders unanimously chose Preeti Shaktawat as the Vallabhnagar candidate. He said the ticket can be given to only one candidate and the party has chosen her on merit.