Rajasthan byelections on March 17; midterm test for Gehlot
Jaipur: Three assembly constituencies in Rajsamand, Churu and Bhilwara districts will go to polls on April 17, the results will be declared on May 2.
The poll-bound constituencies include Rajsamand seat in Rajsamand district, Sahara in Bhilwara and Sujangarh in Churu. The elections were necessitated after MLAs elected from here in 2018 assembly elections passed away recently.
The incumbent Congress party has to defend its turf in Sahara and Sujangarh, while the BJP has to retain its Rajsamand seat which was vacated after the death of MLA Kiran Maheswari.
The contest is taking place at a time when both the parties are riddled with deep factionalism.
These bypolls are especially important for the chief minister Ashok Gehlot as a test of his two terms in the office. Any reversal is likely to impact the party’s prospects and may lead to changes either in the organization or in the government.
PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasara, who replaced Sachin Pilot following a major public fallout , also has to prove his mettle in forthcoming elections. The ruling party is already hemmed in by MLAs perceived to be from the Pilot camp, and opposition benches.
“There are over 7 lakh voters who will cast their vote on April 17. This is a large enough number to be seen as a test of the government’s two years in the office,” said a senior poll pundit.
The elections are coinciding at a time when the central leadership of the party is busy in West Bengal and Assam, and the state leadership is facing an internal mutiny due to the former chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s open challenge to the party president Satish Poonia.
“It is a litmus test for both Gehlot and BJP. If the Congress flounders, it will have to accommodate dissenting MLAs, but any loss in Rajsamand will leave the BJP bleeding,” said an analyst.