Jaipur: While the model code of conduct is in place in poll-bound Rajasthan, apart from other states headed for Assembly elections, a state minister’s speech is likely to cause controversy. Minister of State Dhan Singh Rawat, while addressing a rally last week, said, “Rajasthan mein jitne bhi Hindu hain, un sabhi Hinduon ko ekjut BJP ko vote dena hai. Agar Congress ke saath judd kar saare Muslim matdaan kar sakte hain toh saare Hindu BJP ke saath ja sakte hain aur prachand bahumat se BJP ko jita sakte hain (In Rajasthan, all Hindus should unite to vote for the BJP. If all Muslims can vote en masse for the Congress, all Hindus should do so for the BJP and help the party win with a huge majority).” (Also read: BJP CEC Meeting to be Held on Nov 1 For Forthcoming Assembly Elections)

Later, Rawat’s colleague Gulab Chand Kataria seemed to debunk his theory. Kataria said, “A voter has no religion, he votes for a person who works for the development of the country. Our party has never sought votes on the basis of religion.” On paper, there is a ban on political candidates seeking votes on the basis of religion, caste or language. Early last year, in a split decision, the Supreme Court had ruled that the Constitution allowed for the free practice of faith but could “forbid interference of religions and religious beliefs with secular activity such as elections”. An election won by soliciting votes along the lines of identity politics could be considered corrupt practice and the result set aside, the Court had said.

Meanwhile, an opinion poll has predicted a win for the Congress in Rajasthan.  According to an ABP News-C-Voter opinion poll, the Congress is best placed in Rajasthan with its state president Sachin Pilot as the most preferred choice of CM. The BJP would fail to retain power in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the poll has said. Pilot leads Vasundhara Raje as the popular choice for CM with 36 per cent voters while the latter is the first choice for 27 per cent. Former chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot also enjoys the backing of 24 per cent voters.