Cong. confident of getting ‘sympathy vote’

It has fielded son of late Minister Meghwal for Sujangarh Assembly seat in Rajasthan

The ruling Congress is confident of getting “sympathy vote” in the upcoming Assembly by-election for the reserved seat of Sujangarh, where it has fielded the late Bhanwarlal Meghwal’s son Manoj Meghwal. The senior Meghwal was a Minister and had represented the constituency five times in his political career spanning four decades.

Though Mr. Meghwal, 48, a salt trader, was not groomed as a politician, he expects to take forward his father’s legacy with the support of the committed voters of Congress. On the hustings in the villages, he has promised to complete the projects left unattended and launch new initiatives for development of the arid region in northern Rajasthan.

The Churu district’s Sujangarh constituency has had a history of electing the Congress and BJP candidates alternately in the Assembly polls since 1985. Besides, the voters here have always elected the MLA of the party which formed the government in the State. Though this has given an advantage to the local politicians in raising the people’s grievances, the most important demand for making Sujangarh a district has remained unaddressed.

Amit Marothiya, Deputy Chairman of Sujangarh Municipal Council, told The Hindu that the Congress would not only get the benefit of sympathy for the Meghwal family, but would also enjoy the support of farmers agitating against the Centre’s farm laws.

“The majority of the 2.74-lakh voters here are Jats, followed by Dalits and minorities. At the present juncture, there is no reason why they will not support us,” he said.

With an eye on the minority community’s votes, Mr. Meghwal recently played an instrumental role in the nomination of Nilofar Ghauri as the Municipal Council’s chairperson. Though Muslims have some grievances against the Ashok Gehlot government, they are likely to join the Scheduled Caste voters in sending the Congress candidate to the State Assembly.

‘No caste division’

Gopi Lal Sharma, owner of a paan shop in the Ghanta Ghar market, listed the construction of new overbridges and rural roads, new office building for Additional District Collector and a new ward in the government hospital during the Congress rule as the factors which would impress the voters. “There is no division on the caste line here. People vote for a party if it has done good work,” he says.

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