Congress experiments with ‘generation change’ in R’sthan, workers claim party will collapse

Jaipur:  Has the Congress conceded a walkover in Jodhpur, the home constituency of former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot which he has been holding for over four decades?

This question is being discussed in political circles after the Congress fielded Karan Singh Uchiyarda as its candidate for the Lok Sabha elections from Jodhpur to make it a Rajput Vs Rajput contest as the BJP has fielded its veteran leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Vaibhav Gehlot, son of Ashok Gehlot, who contested the last Lok Sabha polls from Jodhpur, has been shifted to Jalore-Sirohi as the Congress candidate. He was fielded from Jodhpur on a Congress ticket in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, but was defeated by Shekhawat.

Varun Purohit, a senior Congress leader, who has worked in the NSUI, Youth Congress and the Kisan Congress in national/state level organisational positions, questioned the decision to give the ticket to a defeated candidate.

Speaking to IANS, he said, “The party has again fielded the sons of Ashok Gehlot and Madhya Pradesh’s former CM Kamal Nath and this is what the party is calling generation change. Imagine after a few years, their grandsons will be getting the tickets too. Is this real generation change as the party claims? Where will the party workers go,” he questioned.

If this is a generational change, then the party will collapse soon as there will be no party workers to go on any yatras in the future, be it a Nyay Yatra or any other yatra which the party plans to take out. This is because workers are not getting a chance to contest elections. Five out of six seats of the Rajya Sabha in Rajasthan have already been given to outsiders, he alleged adding, “Now, veterans’ sons are being given tickets. What should the common worker do,” he asked.

The party has also fielded its MLA Brijesh Ola, son of Sisram Ola who had served as MP and MLA in different terms from Jhunjhunu under the Congress government in Rajasthan. Brijesh Ola has also served as state minister during the Congress rule and is contesting from Jhunjhunu again.

Another party worker told IANS that the party is experimenting a lot in these Lok Sabha polls as it failed to bag even one seat in Rajasthan in the last two Lok Sabha elections. It has not given a second chance even to the 2014 candidates and has fielded fresh faces all across to escape the threat of a three-time defeat looming large, he said adding, “Hence comes a change in seat for Vaibhav too.”

In the list of 10 Congress candidates released so far, two Jats, two ST-SC, one Rajput, one Saini, one Yadav, and one Anjana (Patel) have been given tickets. However, Brahmins and Vaishyas have not yet been included. Names are still yet to be revealed by the Congress for 15 seats.

Meanwhile, Laxmikant Bhardwaj, BJP spokesperson from Rajasthan said that this change of seat for the former CM’s’ son will make no difference to the election result.

“In 2019, when Vaibhav was fielded from Jodhpur, he lost his booth even at a time when his father was the CM of the state. So no matter if Vaibhav contests from Jodhpur or Jalore-Sirohi, he will not win.”

“During the Assembly polls of 2023, Ashok Gehlot’s winning margin was reduced drastically, so he might be fearing that Vaibhav might lose with a bigger margin if he is fielded from Jodhpur, and hence the change of seat,” he said adding “But Jalore-Sirohi is already a BJP’ stronghold so Vaibhav will face a major defeat. However, the Congress has a strong team comprising Sanyam Lodge and other loyalists of Ashok Gehlot due to which the former CM might have been convinced to shift his son there,” he added.

Senior journalist Manish Godha said that it is clear that the Congress has given a walkover in Jodhpur. Also it shows how strong is the fear of defeat that the party preferred giving a walkover in Jodhpur. Ashok Gehlot should have contested from there, it being his traditional seat for over four decades. However, the party changed the seat of his son as well, All senior names like that of Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot are missing from the list; this shows a sense of fear, a feeling of giving up, it seems that the party has assumed defeat well in advance.”

“It was earlier being said that seniors will be fielded but all the big names are missing from the list due to which the party workers are not motivated or enthused. It seems the party is fighting a lost battle,” he added.

Meanwhile, Vaibhav Gehlot has thanked the Congress’ top leadership on his social media post. He said, “Heartfelt gratitude to the top Congress leadership for nominating me as a candidate from Jalore-Sirohi parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha elections 2024. I assure you that I will maintain the trust expressed by you. With the blessings of the people of the area, I will ensure the victory of Congress in the area by serving the public day and night by the ideology of the party.”

Vaibhav has carried pictures of Congress leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Ashok Gehlot on his post. However, no other pictures of veteran state leaders like the PCC chief and the leader of the opposition have been carried which is further being questioned by party workers.

“This yet again reveals factionalism which is killing the party from within, hope it learns lessons for the future,” said another Congress worker on condition of anonymity.


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