Ajmer, historically, has always been closely watched over by Delhi. The cosmopolitan city in the desert state lost its original character over the decades after it lost the opportunity of being capital of Rajasthan. But Lok Sabha by-polls of 2018 have again made Delhi to take note of Ajmer. Contest is being keenly watched as it is putting to test the strength of Jat support to Vasundhara Raje and half yearly results of three years of groundwork for Sachin Pilot. Ajmer may prove to be their waterloo.
Vasundhara Raje has survived in her second regime despite shrill accusation of illegal support to her ‘old time family friend’ Lalit Modi and mining scam which literally fell short of her own doorsteps. Flip flop Rajnath Singh and time tested relation with Nitin Gadkari gave her strength to survive the onslaught, no other could have withstood but that was time when Modi-Shah duo was more focused on foreign relations and politically important elections like Uttar Pradesh.
However, the results of Gujarat assembly poll have changed many equations and equilibrium within BJP as Modi-Shah duo has lost the halo of invincibility. Lok Sabha by poll in Rajasthan becomes all the more important for BJP because a loss will shatter the dream of BJP to achieve the goal of ‘congress mukt bharat’ – chest thumping slogan which is the main plank of BJP propaganda under Modi-Shah combine.
As Ramswaroop Lamba, son of late Sanwar Lal Jat, submitted his nomination as BJP candidate in Ajmer by poll today, his disconnect with BJP organisation in Ajmer and with other local leaders was too obvious to ignore by anyone.
But Lamba is just a face of Ajmer by poll, what is at stake is prestige of Vasundhara Raje herself.
Congress candidate Raghu Sharma is no novice and was always the second best choice for the party after Sachin Pilot could not muster courage to fight. With a Brahmin in fray, BJP is staring at a clear dent in its traditional vote bank while Bania votes will account the impact of GST before extending support to BJP. Two major castes – Gurjar and Rawat which are traditional vote bank of Congress and BJP respectively, may remain silent spectator in the election while Muslim and SC are expected to support congress en mass.
Ajmer is expected to be a low polling election as most of the people are not interested either in candidates in fray or the leadership of both the main political parties. But disinterest of public in Ajmer would reflect more on performance and anti incumbency towards Vasundhara Raje government than on Sachin Pilot, who has time on his side to mature up.