BSP candidate Ashok Bairwa extends support to Sachin Pilot in Tonk
Former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot received a shot in the arm on Saturday when the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate, Ashok Bairwa, extended support to him in the Tonk seat in the upcoming Assembly election.
Mr. Bairwa made the announcement on Monday in the presence of the local influential leaders. He said he would campaign for Mr. Pilot on the hustings.
Mr. Pilot, who won from Tonk in the 2018 election, has been fielded by the ruling Congress again from the seat, where the BJP’s Ajit Singh Mehta is challenging him.
Mr. Bairwa, a former Congress member, also heads the Bhim Sena in Tonk district and wields a considerable influence among the Dalit communities in the constituency.
‘Impressed with ideology’
Mr. Bairwa said he wanted to withdraw his candidature, but could not do it because of paucity of time on the last day of withdrawal of nominations. “I am impressed with the ideology of Mr. Pilot. He is working for uplift of the poor. My supporters [in Tonk] with work wholeheartedly for ensuring Mr. Pilot’s victory,” Mr. Bairwa said.
Mr. Pilot, who has been touring the villages in the constituency for the last three days, is engaged in a damage-control exercise in his seat and has succeeded in convincing Congress rebels Naimuddin, Mohsin Rashid Khan, Abul Qadir and Umar Baig to withdraw their nomination papers.
Some BJP workers led by the party’s city unit general secretary, Ramdayal Bairwa, also joined the Congress in Tonk on Saturday. The BJP has made an attempt for consolidation of Hindu votes in the constituency, which is an erstwhile princely State ruled by Nawabs.
Among the 2.45 lakh voters in Tonk, about 62,000 are Muslims. The number of Gujjars is 35,000, Scheduled Castes 45,000, Brahmins 15,000, Jats 12,000, Malis 16,000 and Rajputs 5,000.
Following the withdrawal of nominations by the rival contestants, six candidates are left in the fray against Mr. Pilot in Tonk. They are BJP’s Mr. Mehta, Azad Samaj Party’s Mohammed Shoaib Khan, People’s Green Party’s Ganesh, Social Democratic Party of India’s Abdul Lateef, and Independents Sitra Ram and Jagdish Prasad Verma.
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