Lok Sabha Elections 2019: All is not well for Congress in Barmer constituency

While the Rajasthan Congress leadership is exploring all options to ensure victory in the Lok Sabha polls, it seems all is not well for the party in Barmer constituency. Here, former MP and revenue minister Harish Choudhary and Manvendra Singh are staking the claim. And, the rift between the two leaders seems to create difficulties for the ruling party.

Manvendra, son of former Union minister and veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh, had switched to Congress from BJP ahead of the assembly polls last year. Prior to Manvendra’s entry into Congress, Harish was considered as the lone candidate for the LS polls but Manvendra’s entry has changed the equations. Not only had this created a rift between both of them, Congress has also become divided into two factions.

Harish, who is now targeting Manvendra, was the first Congress leader to welcome him to the party. During Congress’s ‘Mera Booth Mera Gaurav’ programme here on May 7 last year, Harish had welcomed Manvendra into Congress. Later, when Manvendra joined the party, Harish was seen driving Manvendra in his car to the Congress office.

But after that, both leaders were never seen together.

Recently, while talking to reporters here, Harish said he never made any preparation for the ticket or elections — “either in the name of swabhimaan (self respect) or moonch ki ladai (clash of egos)”. Harish, when contacted, confirmed the same, saying he “has not demanded the ticket and it’s party’s prerogative to give the ticket”. He had“always supported Congress ideology and not any individual’s ideology”, the former MP added.

Harish’s words like “swabhimaan” and “moonch ki ladai” have created a buzz in the political circles. According to political observer Vijay Sharma, by mentioning “swabhimaan”, Harish has tried to corner Manvendra. He said it is not for the first time when Harish has targeted Manvendra. He said Harish had earlier also opposed Manvendra’s entry into Congress.

On the other hand, the term “swabhimaan” was used by Manvendra also, citing which he had quit BJP. And, “moonch ki ladai” was used by then chief minister Vasundhara Raje against BJP veteran Jaswant Singh when he had contested the 2014 general election as an independent candidate after the BJP refused to give him a ticket from his home constituency. BJP had then chose Congress turncoat Colonel Sonaram Choudhary — who switched to BJP merely few days ahead of the general elections. This made Manvendra upset and he left the party.

When contacted, Manvendra said he had “heard the statement” but refused to comment, saying “he would speak at a later time”.

Both were not interested in contesting the assembly election, but “forced” to do so due to party pressure. While Harish had won the Baytoo assembly constituency in Barmer, Manvendra lost against Raje in the Jhalrapatan assembly seat.

Now, both have staked claim for the Barmer seat. Even though the party is yet to finalise the candidature, Harish’s remark has indicated that “all is not well” in the party at this seat.

Also Read | Lok Sabha elections 2019: Here is all you need to know about Rajasthan

First Published:
Mar 20, 2019 11:48 IST

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