In a big gamble, the Congress party on Saturday announced that it has fielded Manvendra Singh, the son of former Union Minister and BJP veteran Jaswant Singh, against Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje from Jhalrapatan constituency for the December 7 Assembly elections.
Manvendra’s name was announced in the second list of 32 candidates released by the Congress party today. Although Jhalrapatan is the traditional stronghold of Raje, the BJP rebel is expected to give a tough fight to her.
INC COMMUNIQUENovember 17, 2018
Soon after the announcement, Manvendra Singh has dropped a hint that he was not that much keen to contest the Rajasthan Elections from Jhalrapatan.
In an exclusive chat with News Nation, Singh said, "My interest was not to contest the assembly elections but the party gave me responsibility. I am not a Chief Ministerial candidate. My relationship with Vasundhara Raje has been good. Now I will go to Jhalarapatan and open a front against Vasundhara Raje".
Irked, Vasundhara Raje told NDTV that it is "not a battle of individuals. It is the battle of the family of Jhalawar", adding that "Congress could not find anyone in Jhalawar" and that is why "they send Manvendra Singh here".
Earlier last month, Manvendra had joined the Congress in presence of party president Rahul Gandhi. Upon joining the Congress, the MLA from the Sheo constituency in Barmer, had said that going with the lotus – BJP’s election symbol, was a “big mistake”.
Manvendra has been critical of the BJP ever since his father Jaswant Singh, who is in coma for the past four years, was denied a BJP ticket from the Barmer constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Earlier in the day, the Rajasthan CM filed her nomination for the upcoming Assembly elections from Jhalrapatan constituency in Jhalawar district. Raje has been representing the Jhalrapatan seat for the last 15 years. The BJP has also released its third list of eight candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.
The elections for the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly are scheduled to held on December 7 in a single phase. The counting of votes will take place four days later on December 11 and results will also be announced the same day.