After several rounds of marathon meetings Congress, Thursday released the first list of candidates for the Rajasthan assembly elections. Contrary to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s claims about not fielding “parachute” candidates, the party has given tickets to at least 6 people who joined the party recently.
Former BJP MP Harish Meena, who had switched over to the Congress on Wednesday, November 14, has been fielded from Deoli Uniara, Habib Ur Rehman from Nagaur, Sona Devi Bavari from Raisinghnagar and Khanhaiya Lal Jhawar from Bikaner East seat.
Former IPS officer Sawai Singh Godara has been fielded from Khinvsar seat.
‘Parachute candidates’ are people who because of being denied tickets by their own party, are quick to change loyalties in the hope of getting the ticket from the other party.
Rahul Gandhi, known for his tall talks, while addressing a gathering of party workers at Ramlila grounds in Jaipur in poll-bound Rajasthan in August, had assured his workers that, “Before every election, parachute candidates come and take tickets. This time I guarantee that not one parachute candidate will get tickets. I will cut strings of parachute candidates.”
He had reiterated that “Leaders from other parties are welcome in the Congress. But they will not be given Congress tickets to contest the election in the forthcoming assembly election. Such leaders will have to work for the party for five to six years before they are considered for tickets.”
However, his announcement was belied when the first list of candidates for Rajasthan assembly election was released late last (November 15) night. It so seems that either Rahul Gandhi promised too soon or simply went back on his promises.
In another such display of hollow pretence, Rahul had affirmed that the party would only give tickets to those who genuinely work for the party and that no tickets would be offered based on any relationship with existing party leaders. Contradicting his claims, family members of over a dozen senior Congress leaders in the state have been given tickets.
In another such hogwash, Rahul had confidently denied giving party tickets to candidates with criminal proceedings against them. Ironically, Malkhan Singh Bishnoi’s son, Mahendra Bishnoi and Mahipal Maderna’s daughter Divya Maderna have been given tickets. Both Malkhan Singh Bishnoi and Mahipal Maderna are in jail in the Bhanwari Devi murder case.
Tickets to parachute-landers and relatives of senior Congress leaders have led to rebellions in the party. Incidents of protest have been reported from some parts of the state.
It would be interesting to see what damage control measures would Rahul Gandhi adopt now, considering that his loose talks and false promises have this time bruised his own party members.
Rajasthan assembly election is scheduled to be held on 7 December 2018.