#RajasthanElections: Ex-BJP leader Manvendra Singh pitted against Vasundhara Raje
Manvendra Singh, a former BJP leader and the son of towering BJP veteran Jaswant Singh, has been pitted against Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje by the Congress for the upcoming Rajasthan Assembly polls. Singh, who had quit the BJP in September, is expected to give Raje tough competition in the town of Jhalpatran, which has, so far, been a stronghold for Raje. Here's more.
The genesis of the Singhs' spat with the BJP
Manvendra Singh and his father's spat with the BJP began in 2014 when the latter was denied his wish to contest the 2014 elections from his home base of Barmer. Subsequently, Jaswant Singh contested as an independent candidate, and lost to a BJP candidate. Speaking on the BJP's decision to deny his father a ticket, Manvendra had later called it a 'conspiracy'.
Manvendra had alleged harassment, bad governance, and corruption within BJP
When Manvendra quit the saffron party in September this year, he alleged harassment inside the party. Calling out the BJP for its style of functioning, Manvendra had said that there was a "problem with the [BJP's] culture of governance", and that there was "rampant corruption" by the party in both the Centre and different states. Firing a parting shot, Manvendra told his supporters, "Kamal Ka Phool, Hamaari Bhool".
The Congress wants to cash in on Manvendra's popularity
Owing to his father's cult status among Rajputs, Manvendra currently enjoys massive popularity among the community. Rajputs form 7% of Rajasthan's electorate, and by fielding Manvendra against Raje, the Congress is looking to cash in on the former BJP leader's popularity. The idea is to get Rajputs, who have traditionally voted for the BJP, to vote for the Congress in the Assembly elections.
Expect a close contest between Manvendra and Raje
Yet, despite his popularity, Manvendra's fight against Raje isn't going to be an easy one. The town of Jhalpatran, from where Manvendra will contest, has voted Raje to power thrice since 2003. That said, the contest is expected to be a close one. The Rajasthan Assembly polls will be held on December 7, and counting will take place on December 11.