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Rajasthan by-elections: Family members of late MLAs may be pushed into bypoll ring

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Both the Congress and the BJP have started looking for possible candidates for the upcoming by-elections in four Assembly seats in Rajasthan. During the 2018 Assembly elections, of the four seats, the Congress had won three while the BJP had bagged one.

In some constituencies, both the parties are focussing on family members of the deceased MLAs, whose deaths necessitated the bypolls.

According to a senior BJP leader, one of the frontrunners for the party’s ticket for the Rajsamand Assembly seat is Dipti, the daughter of former Rajsamand MLA Kiran Maheshwari.

“Along with Dipti Maheshwari, the name of former Rajsamand MP Hariom Singh Rathore’s son is also being considered. We feel that the party will benefit from the public sympathy after the death of Maheshwari, who was a much respected leader from the area and also an MP,” said the BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

Considered a stronghold of the BJP, the late Maheshwari had won the seat by a margin of over 24 thousand votes during the 2018 Assembly elections.

Earlier there were also reports of possibilities of Vaibhav Gehlot, the son of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot being fielded from Rajsamand. However, party leaders are tight-lipped from commenting over the issue.

In Udaipur district’s Vallabhnagar, the BJP faces a difficult task in candidate selection.

According to senior party leaders, one of the strongest candidates is M Randhir Singh Bhinder, former independent MLA who had left the BJP over his differences with Gulab Chand Kataria, senior BJP leader and the current leader of opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly.

Bhinder had also floated his own party and contested the 2018 Assembly elections, coming second after Congress’ Gajendra Singh Shaktawat, whose death has necessitated the bypolls.

“Efforts are on to convince both Bhinder and Kataria for the former’s return to the BJP. We identify the fact that Bhinder is the strongest candidate in the fray,” said the BJP leader.

On the other hand, Congress leaders say that the party is considering fielding someone from deceased MLA Shaktawat’s family and considering candidature of his wife as well. Shaktawat was a known loyalist of former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and was one of the MLAs who sided with him during the political crisis in the state last year.

Sources in the Congress said that chances are that the son of former MLA and stalwart Congress leader Master Bhanwarlal Meghwal might be fielded from Sujangarh in Churu district.

The by-elections in the four seats, for which the dates are yet to be announced, were necessitated after the deaths of Maheshwari, Shaktawat, Meghwal and Kailash Chandra Trivedi, MLA from Sahara in Bhilwara district.

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