Jaswant Singh may fight as independent from Barmer
Annoyed at not being considered from Rajasthan's Barmer seat, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh is likely to contest the Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate from the constituency, sources close to him said Saturday.
He is slated to come to Barmer in a couple of days and seek feedback from local supporters and leaders before filing his nomination papers.
Sources said that if he was given a go-ahead by his supporters, he will contest the elections.
Jaswant Singh represented Darjeeling in the outgoing 15th Lok Sabha.
He wanted to fight election from Barmer this time, but the party fielded Colonel Sonaram, who recently switched to the BJP from the Congress.
Following strong protests from some BJP party workers against denial of BJP ticket to Jaswant Singh, a meeting was held at the home of former union minister's son Manvendra Singh Friday night.
His supporters in Barmer chalked out a strategy to field him as an independent.
Some workers even took out a protest rally and burnt effigies of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje holding her responsible for denial of the ticket to Jaswant Singh. They also shouted slogans against her.
"Colonel Sonaram had been with Congress for years. Now he has switched loyalties and joined BJP. Fielding him immediately after joining BJP has sent a wrong message to the voters. He should have made to work in the organisation at least for some years before he was given such an opportunity," said a local BJP leader.
If Jaswant Singh decides to contest, he may upset the equations against Sonaram as there are at least 1.5 lakh Rajput voters in Barmer constituency.
"He has influence over voters from other castes also, so Jaswant Singh will definitely make life difficult for the BJP candidate," said Vijay Sharma, a political analyst.
Voting for the 25 parliamentary constituencies in the state will take place April 17 and 24. In the last elections in 2009, the Congress won 20 seats and the BJP four, while one seat was won by an Independent.
Jaswant Singh hails from Jasol village in Barmer district.
He was member of the union cabinet during the NDA government.
(Posted on 22-03-2014)