Dominated by the Jat community, the Churu parliamentary seat has turned into a BJP citadel with the Kaswan family winning it successively since the 2004 general elections.
BJP leader Ram Singh Kaswan won the seat in 2004 and 2009. His son Rahul Kaswan bagged it on a BJP ticket in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, defeating BSP’s Abhinesh Maharshi by 2,94,739 votes.
The BJP has fielded Rahul again this time from Churu. The Congress has pitted Rafique Mandelia against him, maintaining its track record of giving ticket to at least one Muslim candidate in the Lok Sabha elections in Rajasthan.
Mandelia lost the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Churu. He was defeated in the Churu assembly constituency in 2018 by a narrow margin of 1,850 votes by BJP leader Rajendra Rathore. His father, Maqbool Madelia, won the 2008 assembly election from Churu on a Congress ticket, defeating Harlal Saharan of the BJP.
The Churu Lok Sabha constituency comprises eight assembly segments — Sadulpur, Taranagar, Sardarshahar, Churu, Ratangarh, Sujangarh, Nohar and Bhadra. In the 2018 state assembly elections, the CPI(M) won Bhadra.
Many local people say Rahul Kaswan tried to develop the constituency. Kaswan released a brochure describing his achievements, mainly in road and rail connectivity.
“We sensibly turned development opportunities into an advantage during my tenure. We were lacking in connectivity, particularly in rail and road,” he said. After introduction of about 15 new trains, Churu is now well-connected with far eastern and northern states, he said.
“We spent Rs 721 crore for infrastructure development and Rs 960 crore for gage conversion of railway tracks in Churu. We have 4 new interstate highways built at 1276 crore; works for 4 others are in progress,” he said.
Despite development claims, Kaswan faces infighting within the party; deputy leader of opposition in the state assembly Rajendra Rathore has reportedly shown annoyance over Kaswan’s candidature.
Rathore has alleged that Kaswan was inactive during assembly elections. Apart from the Rathore factor, a Muslim contestant poses a challenge for Kaswan because the community has a sizeable presence in the area.
FACE TO FACE
Rahul Kaswan, Churu MP
In an interview to HT, MP Rahul Kaswan talks about his achievements. Excerpts:
‘Churu got 15 trains in my tenure’
What were the high points of your five-year term?
Development, you can see, is what we have got in these five years. My father Ram Singh Kaswan represented this seat from 1999 till 2014; I was elected from Churu in 2014. I am glad that Churu has got 15 trains during my tenure. I tried to connect this area by building a smart road network, which includes 2 national highways; works on 4 others are in progress.
One thing you wished to do as an MP but could not, why?
I don’t think progress in any field has been neglected. From schools to Olympic-level sports facilities, health and public facilities, electrification in rural and urban areas as well as in railways, I tried to address all basic issues to transform Churu.
Why should people re-elect you?
Innovative works and the vision of development are our USP. The fulfilment of promises and quality of works will always remain in the minds of my public. I performed my duties without any bias or partiality.
How was your experience in parliament?
As a first-timer in parliament, my priority was to learn the working of the House. My seniors and party leaders helped me a lot. I am lucky to have got support from both the union and state governments to convert my ideas in reality. PM Modi and CM Raje extended their full cooperation to my projects.
Do you believe that Modi charisma is going to help you in winning the election?
Of course, yes. He has emerged as a global leader and it is a matter of pride for every citizen of India. He is an asset for not only the BJP but for the nation. The public has decided to strengthen Modi by giving him a chance again to drive the changes.
‘Youth jobless, villagers don’t get drinking water’
Congress candidate Rafique Mandelia said Kaswan’s development claims are baseless. “Youth are jobless, farmers are not getting scheme benefits, and villagers are thirsty without drinking water. Is this his model of development?” Mandelia asked. “Apart from small works done at the district headquarters and that too is face saving, nothing has been achieved. The MP has betrayed the voters of Churu.”
Apr 20, 2019 11:42 IST
Article source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/lok-sabha-elections/mp-report-card-bjp-fields-mp-kaswan-again-eyes-winning-run-since-2004/story-B8EBsyJXD0O0biQYydAX8L.html