Has BJP got its social engineering right in Rajasthan?

Last Updated: Wed, Apr 17, 2019 13:03 hrs

Jaipur, April 17 (IANS) Has the BJP got its social engineering right in by forming alliance with the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party in Rajasthan and roping in Gujjar community leader Kirori Singh Bainsla into the party?

This will be known when the state goes to polls on April 29 and May 6.

According to political analysts, Rajasthan's Jat population in Rajasthan comprises around 12 per cent while Gujjars account for around 9 per cent. This makes for around 84,00,000 Jats and 63,00,000 Gujjars in state.

Now, with these new equations and tie-ups, can the party enjoy a significant support of influential Jat and Gujjar communities in Lok Sabha elections?

The state deputy leader of opposition and BJP MLA Rajendra Rathore said: "All communities follow their leaders. Now, if their leaders are declaring their support to BJP, it is clear that their communities shall also be supporting the saffron party,"

Last week, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) chief Hanuman Beniwal announced an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.Soon after, Colonel Kirori Singh Bainsla (retired, and his son, Vijay Bainsla, joined the saffron party in New Delhi.

Surprisingly, both these communities stood with the Congress party in December 2018 Assembly elections.

In fact, Beniwal enjoyed a fractured relationship with BJP after he was suspended from party in 2013 for publicly making allegations against the then Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Rathore on corruption charges.

In 2014, he contested as an independent and won Before 2018 assembly elections, he floated his and brought in three MLAs to the Assembly. He holds a strong influence among Jat communities in western Rajasthan, include Nagaur, Barmer, Bikaner, Sikar and Jodhpur. Beniwal is now contesting from Nagaur against Congress' influential candidate Jyoti Mirdha.

Is BJP setting its social engineering record straight by forming such alliances and tie-ups in Rajasthan?

Rathore replied: "RLP in Rajasthan represents youths and after air strikes (against terror camps in Pakistan), youths stand with BJP. The national sentiments in India have changed. RLP youths also want to bring Modi back. As we share similar aims and objectives, we stand together today," he said.

While announcin the of alliance, Beniwal had also said: "The country's development is our utmost priority. We will stand together to ensure Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister again. The Congress has ruined our nation. Now is the time to rectify things."

Going further, the Ghar Wapasi of Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla have also instilled fresh hopes in BJP camps. The party lacked a strong Gujjar leader in eastern belt of Rajasthan.

After joining the party, Bainsla said that he had been influenced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "I don't want any post, but only wanted to get the Gujjar community do its due right," he said.

Bainsla had contested the Tonk-Sawai Madhopur seat on a BJP ticket in 2009 parliamentary elections, but lost by 317 votes to Congress' Namonarayan Meena. Thereafter, he did not contest any election but has led many Gujjar agitations demanding reservation for his community in the last 12 years. The latest stir was in February when Gujjars blocked roads and railway tracks in and around Sawai Madhopur blocking crucial Delhi-Mumbai track.

In the Assembly elections, state Congress chief and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who is a Gujjar, swung the community's to the Congress.

Now with Bainsla's entry, the BJP is expected to get a boost on the Gujjar-dominated seats. Bainsla is seen to have influence on Gujjar votes in around a dozen districts including Dausa, Karauli, Ajmer, Bharatpur, Tonk-Sawai Madhopur and Dholpur. Meanwhile, the party seems to be cashing in on the Gujjar's annoyance with Congress. which who did not announce Pilot as its Chief Minister.

Speaking to IANS, a Gujjar leader said: "Our community is quite unhappy with Congress. They fielded (state president Sachin Pilot), a leader from our community as CM face and then did not fulfil the promise. Now, Bainsla moving with BJP will definitely shift them to BJP camp."

However, Congress Pradesh Congress committee Vice President Archana Sharma said: "BJP in present time is resorting to all measures -- ethical and non-ethical -- and they will not be successful in their plan to emerge as winner."

(Archana Sharma can be contacted at archana.s@ians.in)