On Thursday, the day of the union budget, the BJP suffered a blow in the Rajasthan by-polls where it lost two Lok Sabha seats of Alwar and Ajmer. Besides this, it also lost the Mandalgarh Assembly seat in the state. Both the Lok Sabha seats were wrestled back from the BJP, who had comfortably won them in the 2014 polls.
Soon after the results were announced, it was incidentally the Karni Sena which was seen jubilantly celebrating BJP’s loss:
Karni Sena celebrates after #RajasthanByPolls results. Rajput Karni Sena, says ‘This is not the victory of a party, it is the victoty of our Sangharsh Samiti. Public supported our Sangharsh & voted against BJP. If BJP follows the same trend, the results will remain the same’ pic.twitter.com/Za7HaeiSWg
— ANI (@ANI) February 1, 2018
Karni Sena which rose to prominence for vehemently opposing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavaat, as per reports claimed that the government’s failure to stop the film’s release was the reason for the BJP’s poor performance.
As per Lokendra Singh Kalvi, who is the leader of the organisation, it was the first time in Rajasthan, when candidates from the ruling party didn’t win, and suggested that the only solution was that PM Modi bans the movie.
Even though the perception of the Karni Sena was that of a radical protest group, the group has since then turned political by openly supporting the Congress.
We had reported how the Karni Sena had declared support to the Congress party for the by-polls in Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha constituencies held on January 29.
Here it was noted that candidate of the Congress Party from Ajmer, Raghu Sharma, met with leaders of the Rajput community seeking support for the upcoming by-polls. Apart from Karni Sena the other Rajput organisations who declared support included, Shri Rajput Sabha, Marwar Rajput, Rashtriya Karni Sena, Rawna Rajput, Charan Rajput, Pratap Foundation.
Congress’ “flirting” with the Karni Sena though wasn’t limited to the state level. It was also seen that senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh came out to voice has support for the anti-Padmavat protests, thereby sparking speculation about his possible sympathy towards the Karni Sena and its radical methods.