Both the BJP and the Congress are trying to get the caste equation right in Rajasthan’s Barmer parliamentary constituency after the nomination of former IPS officer and BSP candidate Pankaj Choudhary was rejected due to lack of documents. Political commentators say the seat will now see a virtually direct contest and the BSP votes would shift to either the BJP or the Congress as the two parties are trying to woo them.
Both the parties recently organised SC/ST conventions, one after the other ahead of the Lok Sabha polls due on the seat on April 29. The BJP’s SC/ST convention was held on Saturday whereas the Congress organised a similar convention a day later.
The Dalit community is considered as a traditional vote bank of the Congress in Barmer and the party wants to keep it intact for winning the seat.
Analysts say the Dalit voters are likely to play a decisive role in the Barmer seat along with Rajput and Jat communities.
The Congress has fielded former BJP stalwart and Rajput leader Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh against BJP’s Kailash Chaudhary, a Jat community leader.
As per the Census 2011, the Barmer parliamentary constituency has 29.7 lakh population and the Jaisalmer assembly constituency, also part of the Barmer seat, comprises 91.67 per cent rural population.
The Barmer seat has 16.59 per cent SC and 6.77 per cent ST community population.
Out of the 19.5 lakh voters in the Barmer constituency, 4 lakh are SC/ST, 3.5 lakh are Jats, 2.5 lakh Rajputs, 3 lakh minorities besides other communities.
Choudhary was dismissed from service last month over an alleged extramarital affair.