16 prominent leaders joined BJP in Rajasthan ahead of polls

16 prominent leaders joined BJP in Rajasthan ahead of polls

On Saturday (12 August), around sixteen prominent leaders, including former MLAs, a retired state police chief, and a retired judge joined the Bhartiya Janata Party in the presence of senior party functionaries of the state unit, in Rajasthan. 

Former MLAs Motilal Kharera, Anita Katara, Gopichand Gurjar, retired judge Kishan Lal Gurjar, former Madhya Pradesh DGP Pawan Kumar Jain, and Congress leader Mridurekha Chaudhary are some of the prominent faces who have joined the saffron party today.

Addressing the media personnel, BJP in-charge for Rajasthan, Arun Singh asserted that “more and more people” are showing their faith in the BJP and they will join the saffron party in the near future. During the event, Singh launched a scathing attack against the Ashok Gehlot government over the issue of “rising” cases of crimes against women in the state.

Singh said, “Sixteen leaders and hundreds of workers have joined the BJP today. Several people had joined the party in the past and it will continue in the future as more and more people are showing faith in the party’s policies and programmes.” 

Attacking the Ashok Gehlot government, Singh added that the Congress government is responsible for the “rising” crimes against women, unemployment, recruitment exam paper leaks, and auction of farmers’ land. He emphasised that it is because of these reasons that people are leaving the Congress party.

Leader of Opposition (LoP) Rajendra Rathore also targeted the state government and said, “There is no rule of law in the state. Corruption is at its peak and the youth is troubled by paper leaks. Lands of farmers are being auctioned as the government failed to fulfill its promise of farm loan waiver.”

Increased focus on Gujjar and tribal belts

The assembly elections in the state are round the corner and in the remaining four months, the BJP has reportedly stepped up its focus on Gujjar and tribal belts. These communities had been traditionally casting their votes in favour of the saffron party but during the 2018 assembly elections, they shifted en mass towards the Congress party. 

It was claimed that the possibility of Sachin Pilot, a tall Gujjar leader, becoming the state Chief Minister in case of Congress’ victory, swayed these communities in favour of the Congress party. But on account of the inglorious ouster of Sachin Pilot and its push among these communities, BJP is hoping to shift back the balance in its favour. 

Evidently, the new joinees include several prominent faces from these two communities. The notable Gujjar faces in this list include retired judge Kishan Lal Gurjar, advocate Atar Singh Gurjar, Bhagwan Singh Gurjar, Gujjar leader and ex-BJP legislator, Gopichand Gurjar. Ex-MLA Gopichand Gurjar had been a party MLA from the Nagar Assembly constituency in Bharatpur district during 1993-1998.

He is known for his campaigns for cow protection and he spearheaded the campaign for the passing the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act in 1995.

Although, Congress MLA Wajib Ali currently represent the Nagar Assembly constituency, Gopichand Gujjar is said to be “well-entrenched” in Nagar, which has a significant percentage of voters from the Gujjar community.

Along with Gopichand Gurjar, tribal leader and former BJP MLA Anita Katara have also returned to the BJP’s fold. Katara had been a former BJP MLA from the Scheduled Tribes (ST)-reserved Sagwara constituency in Dungarpur district in southern Rajasthan. She left the party ahead of the 2018 polls after being denied an election ticket. Subsequently, Katara contested the election as an Independent but lost to the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP)’s candidate.

In the last assembly elections, in 2018, BJP fared poorly in the tribal seats in the state,and Congress swept this region. 

However, this time, it is being said that a large section of tribals particularly in the southern Rajasthan have not made their mind this time, and the recent induction of Katara and other leaders hailing from various districts in eastern Rajasthan, including Sikar and Bharatpur may reap electoral benefit for the BJP. 

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