Congress, BJP announce candidates for Rajasthan bypolls

Polling to be held at Vallabhnagar, Dhariawad on October 30

The ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday announced candidates for the by-elections to two Assembly constituencies in Rajasthan. The by-elections at Vallabhnagar in Udaipur district and Dhariawad in Pratapgarh district were necessitated following the death of incumbent MLAs.

The Congress has fielded the deceased MLA Gajendra Singh’s wife Preeti Shaktawat from Vallabhnagar, and Nagraj Meena, who had contested the Assembly election five times in the past, from the reserved Dhariawad seat. The polling will be held on October 30.

The BJP has given ticket to Rajput leader Himmat Singh Jhala, who wields a considerable influence on the community, in Vallabhnagar, and Khet Singh Meena, district president of the Scheduled Tribe Morcha, who has the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s backing, in Dhariawad.

Congress MLA from Vallabhnagar Shaktawat died on January 20 and BJP legislator from Dhariyawad, Gautam Lal Meena passed away on May 19. Both died of COVID-19 infection.

The Congress has nominated Ms. Preeti Shaktawat from Vallabhngar to get sympathy votes at the constituency, which has traditionally been the party’s stronghold. However, the BJP has refrained from playing the sympathy card in Dhariawad, where MLA Meena’s son Kanhaiya Lal Meena was apparently not in a strong position.

The BJP has made a tough choice in Vallabhnagar by respecting the desire of Leader of the Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria, who was opposed to bringing popular leader and former MLA Randhir Singh Bhindar back to the party fold and giving him the ticket. The party may face the challenge again from Mr. Bhindar, who had contested the two previous polls and ensured the defeat the of BJP candidates, who finished third both the times.

In the by-elections to Rajsamand, Sahara and Sujangarh Assembly constituencies earlier this year, the winning candidates of both the Congress and the BJP were all relatives of former MLAs whose death had led to the polls. The Congress won in Sahara and Sujangarh, while the BJP emerged victorious in Rajsamand.

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