Former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot’s stature as a national-level Congress leader and his outreach to allay concerns of sections of influential communities in Tonk ahead of assembly polls has boosted his re-election bid from this constituency amid the BJP’s strong push for Hindutva and the local versus outsider narrative.
BJP’s Ajit Singh Mehta is pitching it as a local versus outsider battle, claiming that Pilot this time does not have the CM face advantage he had last time.
Mehta has been asserting that he is a Tonk resident who knows the micro-problems faced by people. He has been claiming that Pilot is an “outsider” who had won big last time due to the chief ministerial face advantage he had. But Pilot’s core voters are unfettered by his not becoming the chief minister during the Congress tenure or not being declared the CM face this time.
Pilot will be CM, if not today, then tomorrow or day after. He is the future. People are talking of Tonk in this election because he is contesting from here. He is a national-level leader and more importantly, a nice guy, Mohammad Rizwan Ali, who owns a tailoring shop in the main market here, said.
Mehta and the BJP know that it would be difficult to breach the Muslim-Gurjar vote bank of Pilot which seems intact and are working to consolidate the Hindu vote besides Gurjars, highlighting what they say is the Congress’ appeasement politics and Mehta’s credentials as a local leader.
BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri, who has been given poll responsibilities in Tonk by the BJP, had recently said that Lahore is keeping an eye on elections in Rajasthan and Tonk. We will have to see whether laddus will be distributed in the country or in Lahore after the elections on the November 25.
The enemy sitting outside the country is keeping an eye on this election. It is a question of our identity, Bidhuri had said while addressing a youth workers’ meeting organised by Mehta.
Pilot, meanwhile, has expressed confidence of getting re-elected from the constituency with a good margin, saying he would be able to secure as good a mandate as last time. “I think the people of Tonk have given me a lot of blessings and support in the last election. In these five years, we have been able to bring about development that was not there in this area. So I am quite confident that the Congress will secure as good a mandate as last time,” Pilot said.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)