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In Rajasthan, rebels may upset BJP, Cong applecart 

Jaipur, December 5

Rajasthan, that goes to the polls on December 7 along with the state of Telangana, is headed for an election in which not only caste and religion but rebels too will play a key role. At least 65 rebels in the fray may square the pitch for the ruling BJP as well as the Opposition Congress.

With no perceptible “Modi wave”, the BJP , perhaps, deliberately desisted from slogans such as “achche din”, “sabka vikas, saba ka saath” on its banners and hoarding. Nor did BJP star campaigners — PM Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah, UP CM Adityanath Yogi and Union Ministers — raise the note ban, GST, Rafale, RBI and CBI controversies. Instead, they chose to hit out at the Congress president and the Gandhi dynasty.

 Recognising the massive anti-CM sentiment, the BJP top heads sought votes on the “BJP phir se” slogan. In all, It was a lacklustre affair with leaders addressing either rallies or holding roadshows. With altogether 2,294 contestants from 88 parties in the fray, ground reports suggest that ‘jaati’ (caste) may be a deciding factor in several constituencies.

Not only are the BJP’s seven and Congress’ four defectors putting up a tough fight, but the 35 Congress rebels and 30 of the BJP are likely to eat into the votes of official candidates. The BJP rebels are likely to inflict a greater damage, considering the saffron party this time dropped 56 sitting  MLAs, six of them ministers. The BJP apostates, Ghanshyam Tiwari (Bharat Vahini party) and Hanuman Benwial (Independent MLA), who have joined hands to form Rajasthan Loktantrik Morcha, are giving sleepless nights to the official candidates as they command a huge Brahmin and Rajput vote bank, respectively. Beniwal has been mobilising the Jat youths, upsetting the Congress calculations. Also, five BJP ministers and six sitting MLAs are fighting the party candidates as Independents. 

A desperate Ahmed Patel, MP and AICC leader, reportedly approached Brij Kishore Sharma, son of former Gujarat Governor Nawal Kishore Sharma, and Rajiv Arora, Ashok Gehlot’s confidant, imploring them not to work against the party candidates in Hawa Mahal and Adarsh Nagar seats of Jaipur. 

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