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Monday, March 4, 2024


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Rajasthan: Congress May Drop 40 MLAs, Kick Off Campaign After Poll Dates Are Announced

NEW DELHI: Congress mulling to replace at least 40 of the 99 legislators in the upcoming Assembly polls is giving sleepless nights to party MLAs in Rajasthan. The party is focusing on kicking off its election campaign aggressively as the government programmes led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot too have come to a halt. According to a party source, Gehlot government’s welfare schemes have helped the Congress gain ground in the desert state beating anti-incumbency in most of the places. Among the most popular schemes are subsidised LPG cylinders at Rs 500, and Chiranjeevi scheme which ensures free treatment upto Rs 25 lakh.

“As of now, the party is gearing up to kick off its campaign once the election dates are announced by next week,” the source said. Several programmes, including road shows, public meetings, door to door campaigns will be designed to highlight the works of the Congress government in the last five years. “Senior leaders like party president Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and many others are expected to hold public rallies and interact with people across the state to take on the BJP,” the source said.

Rural and tribal areas will form the focus of the party with efforts being made to aware people of the programmes and schemes of the Congress government. To beat the anti-incumbency, the party has also decided to replace at least 40 out of 99 MLAs as mentioned in its internal survey. “The internal survey report has highlighted that at least 40 MLAs have bleak chances of beating anti-incumbency in their assembly constituencies,” the source said. “Thus we have forwarded the report to the party leadership suggesting to replace the candidate in those seats,” the source said.

However, a decision is awaited from the senior leadership if they wish to continue with the same MLas or field new candidates instead, he said. He also said that there are many MLAs from the camps of Chief Minister Gehlot and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot’s camp. “Both the factions want to avoid the replacement of maximum MLAs from their camps as it would hurt their image, but the leadership’s decision will be final,” he said.

With the Central Election Committee (CEC) of the Congress scheduled to meet in the national capital on Saturday to decide on the candidates of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, the MLAs of the desert state will be keeping a close tab on the developments. The source said that with Pilot finding a place in the Congress Working Committee — party’s highest decision making body, the party leadership has also given a message to the party workers that all is well within the party after the truce between the two leaders (Pilot and Gehlot).

Workers at the ground level now feel the difference in the situation, which was prevalent six months ago. As Gehlot and Pilot are working in sync, the party leaders feel more confident of taking on the BJP in the Assembly elections in coming days. In addition to it, factionalism playing out in the BJP is only helping the grand-old-party in the state to gain the ground.

The crucial elections for the 200-member Assembly are scheduled later this year. The Congress has been campaigning aggressively in the state to break the tradition of alternate party government in the desert state with its pro-people schemes. While on the other hand, the BJP is also preparing for the grand battle in the state as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J.P. Nadda are frequently visiting the state to turn the tide in its favour.

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