Tonk-Sawai Madhopur: Difficult pitch to bat on for Azhar (Election Special)
For former Indian cricket captain and Congress candidate Mohammad Azharuddin, Tonk-Sawai Madhopur constituency is becoming a difficult pitch to bat on.
He is facing tough contest from Sukhbir Singh Jaunpuria of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Jagmohan Meena of the National People's Party. and Independent candidate Makhan Lal Meena.
Tonk, which will go to polls April 24 along with four other constituencies in the state, is traditionally a Congress stronghold but development has never really touched the ground in the area.
Therefore, voters in the assembly election switched over to the BJP and the party won all eight assembly seats falling within the Tonk-Sawai Madhopur Lok Sabha constituency.
R.K. Meena, a local resident, told IANS: "We have neither industries nor facilities of good roads or basic infrastructure."
The constituency requires a lot of development work, he added.
Namo Narain Meena of the Congress won this seat in the last Lok Sabha election because of the Meena voters' dominance in the constituency.
The constituency has over 1.7 million voters in which Malpura, Niwai, Khandar and surrounding blocks are thickly populated with with minority community. The Deoli and Uniara belt consists of Dalit pockets that are traditional Congress voters.
Sawai Madhopur, Gangapur and Bamanwas are Meena and Gujjar dominant regions where polling is usually reported in bulk.
Voters of Tonk and Sawai Madhopur this time have demanded local candidate to get development work going, but both the Congress and the BJP parachuted their nominees in this constituency.
The Congress nominated Azharuddin who won the last Lok Sabha election from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh and BJP brought Jaunpuria, a Gujjar leader and native of Haryana. Azhar faced the protest of local Muslim organisations while some BJP workers did not accept Jaunpuria.
There are about 3.80 lakh minority voters in this constituency and with about 3.5 lakh Dalits, the Congress is hoping to retain this seat.
Analysts predict that if there is a good percentage of minority and Dalit votes, things may go in favour of the Congress. Otherwise, the scene looks bleak for the party.
For Jaunpuria, the Modi wave is an important factor as the recent BJP victory in the assembly polls is expected to help him. "There are 2.5 lakh Jat, Rajput, Vaish and Brahmin voters and 1.5 lakh Kumawats. Besides getting support from these communities, Jaunpuria also hopes to get support from some Dalit organisations," said a source.
Jaunpuria is renowned for his lavish lifestyle and he has got team of workers canvassing even in remote regions.
"The Modi wave prevails strongly in the region," said a BJP leader. The party is looking at the caste combination and some percentage of Dalit votes may tilt in his favour. The Toda Rai Singh block has a dominance of Jats and they came out to support the BJP in the assembly election.
Jagmohan Meena of NPP and Independent Makhan Lal Meena are also making the contest interesting and Meena lobby has come out in support of both of them.
Makhan has hold in Bamanwas, Khandar and Sawai Madhopur.
"He is known for his social services," said a voter in Tonk.
There are over three lakh Meena and more than two lakh Gujjar voters in the constituency.
The major merit for Makhan and Jagmohan is that both are locals and this was one of the major demands of the people here.
(Anil Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 20-04-2014)