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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Rajasthan polls: After jugglery to accommodate Diya Kumari, BJP’s safe seat in choppy waters

In Chittorgarh’s Gandhi Nagar square, Gopal Purabia is having a tough time convincing his customers to vote for the BJP. Purabia who runs the “Namo tea stall” at the square is a BJP worker and a Narendra Modi fan. So are his customers. But they are rooting for rebel candidate and sitting MLA Chandrabhan Singh Akya who has been overlooked as the party tried to make accommodations after fielding Rajsamand MP Diya Kumari from a seat in Jaipur.

As the conversation at the tea stall illustrates, this has put Chittorgarh, one of the BJP’s safe seats, in jeopardy. Purabia keeps telling his customers to vote based on ideology but not just them, even his brother refuses to listen to him. Ratanlal Kumawat, another committed BJP worker from the nearby village of Ghatiawali, expresses his frustration. “No one is thinking about the country … people are getting swayed by emotions.” But he also acknowledges Akya’s popularity.

After fielding Kumari from the Vidyadhar Nagar constituency, the BJP accommodated its three-term MLA Narpat Singh Rajvi, the son-in-law of former Vice-President, and ex-Rajasthan CM, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, in Chittorgarh, which comes under the Lok Sabha constituency of state BJP president C P Joshi. After being denied his constituency in the first list, Rajvi had hit out at the party, calling the decision “shocking” and saying it was a “way to defame and hurt the legacy” of his father-in-law.

Rajvi is no stranger to Chittorgarh though. He won the elections from there in 1993 and 2003 before being moved to Jaipur in 2008. But that has not stopped Akya, who has won from Chittorgarh the last two terms, from making a “local vs outsider” pitch during campaigning. “I was denied a ticket because C P Joshi saw me as a threat to his political future. I am confident of winning as an Independent because people are with me for the work that I have done for them in the past 10 years,” he tells The Indian Express.

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