Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Independents, small parties play party poopers in Raj…

The people of Rajasthan have alternated between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress while electing their representatives to the Lok Sabha. But in last two elections, on at least five seats, Independent candidates have played spoilsport, winning more votes than the victory margin.

In eastern Rajasthan and some parts of Shekhawati region, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is known to queer the pitch of BJP and Congress candidates.

In 2009 election, former home minister Buta Singh contested as an independent candidate from Jalore constituency reserved for the scheduled caste and was the runner-up.

In Dausa the same year, the fight was between two Independent candidates – Qummer Rubbani and Kirodi Lal Meena – pushing the BJP and the Congress candidates to the third and forth spots. Meena was the only Independent MP from Rajasthan in 2009.

In 2014, in Jhunjhunu and Barmer constituencies, independent candidates got a sizeable vote share, which may have tilted the result in the favour of the runner-up.

In Jhunjhunu, Rajkumar Sharma got more than 200,000 votes, and former external affairs minister Jawant Singh, contesting as an Independent, was the runner-up in Barmer, getting around 200,000 more votes than the Congress candidate, Harish Choudhary.

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The BSP has a presence in eastern Rajasthan, especially in Bharatpur and Karauli-Dholpur constituencies, and in Churu and Jhunjhunu constituencies in the Shekhawati region. The region, north of Jaipur, comprises three districts of Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu.

Party candidates in Churu, Bikaner and Tonk got more votes than the victory margin in 2009 election. In 2014 poll, BSP candidate was the runner-up in Churu. In Bharatpur and Bikaner, the party candidates failed to make a mark in the Modi wave where the winning margins were in excess of 200,000.

The northern part of the state is known for agrarian movements, mostly led by the Left parties. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate Amraram was on the third spot in Sikar in 2009 poll, but he got more votes than the victory margin. Also, in Bikaner, the CPM candidate polled more votes than the margin of victory.

Two other parties, which took the poll plunge in 2013 Assembly election, contested the 2014 LS poll and spoilt the party for BJP and Congress candidates in at least two constituencies. In Ganganagar, National Unionist Zamindara Party (NUZP), which won two seats in Assembly, got 100,000 votes and was the second runner-up.

In Dausa, the National People’s Party (NPEP), which has four legislators in the Assembly, pushed the Congress candidate to third spot in Dausa constituency.

Political expert Ashok Choudhary said in Rajasthan people largely choose BJP or Congress candidate to send to the lower house of Parliament but there are pockets where BSP and other parties make a dent, often affecting the result.

The NPEP is unlikely to field candidates in the Lok Sabha election. Its state president Kirodi Meena is back in the BJP, his parent party, and is now Rajya Sabha MP.

However, another new outfit, the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), which made a splash in the Assembly election and won two seats in the southern Rajasthan, has announced to contest on three tribal Lok Sabha seats: Udaipur, Banswara and Chittorgarh.

Udaipur and Banswara are reserved for scheduled tribes and Chittorgarh is a general seat.

BTP, founded in August last year, has set up its organization in five districts of Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Dungarpur and Banswara with a membership base of around 50,000, according to state president Velaram Ghoghra.

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Political experts feel smaller parties can only play spoilsport and are unlikely to win seats. A parliamentary constituency has a much larger area as compared to an assembly constituency and requires more manpower and resources, they say.

They said in Assembly elections, there are local issues that decide the fate of candidates; nationally, people vote for a PM face.

Rajasthan will vote to elect 25 MPs to the 17th Lok Sabha in the fourth and fifth phases of the Lok Sabha elections. The state will vote on April 29 and May 6.

On April 29, 13 Lok Sabha constituencies from Rajasthan will go to elections.

On May 6, the remaining Rajasthan Lok Sabha constituencies will vote to elect the next Indian government.

Rajasthan is a significant state from the electoral perspective as 4,84,79,229 voters come from the state.

For complete coverage of Lok Sabha Elections 2019, click here

First Published:
Mar 19, 2019 12:23 IST

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