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Trending ahead of Lok Sabha elections: Who is Ravindra Bhati, independent candidate from Barmer currently in news for meeting anti-India elements

Ravindra Singh Bhati is a 26-year-old politician from Dudhoda village in the Sheo constituency of district Barmer, Rajasthan. Bhati was born into a Rajput family. His constituency is located near the India-Pakistan border.

Ravindra Singh Bhati, an independent MLA from Sheo Assembly, Rajasthan, has been making headlines for months. He was with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before the Rajasthan Assembly Elections in 2023. However, he left the party and contested the elections as an independent candidate after the BJP denied him a ticket. Bhati won the Sheo Assembly Constituency by a substantial margin and later announced he would challenge for Lok Sabha Elections as an independent candidate from the Barmer constituency. Since 15th April, Bhati has come under fire on social media for the wrong reasons.

On 15th April, Sheo Constituency MLA Ravindra Singh Bhati faced criticism on social media for meeting the husband of anti-India propagandist Nitasha Kaul, Dibyesh Anand, during his trip to London in February this year. In a post on X, Bhati posted, “It was a delightful opportunity to meet Professor Dibyesh Anand, Vice-Chancellor of Global Engagement and Employability at the University of Westminster, London. During our discussion, there was an extensive and meaningful conversation about exploring new employment opportunities for youth in remote areas like Shiv. Additionally, Professor Anand assured me of his ongoing support in addressing the challenges faced by the Shiv Assembly.” Bhati trended for making a “poor choice” of meeting Anand, who is anti-India.

X user Ateendriyo replied, “A very, very poor choice! I had expected better, Bhati Sahab!!”

X user AndColorPockeT wrote, “This is a very poor choice. You should avoid these people. How is he going to employ your assembly?”

X user Rohit said, “Disappointed. He is a well-known ISI agent & supports the 1990 Kashmiri Hindu Genocide. Bigots like him brainwashed KMs to pick up arms & pelt stones. Due to such people, Kashmiri Hindus like me have been in exile for over 34 years now. Why meet such Anti-India Hinduphobes?”

Who is Ravindra Singh Bhati?

Ravindra Singh Bhati is a 26-year-old politician from Dudhoda village in the Sheo constituency of district Barmer, Rajasthan. Bhati was born into a Rajput family. His constituency is located near the India-Pakistan border. He was initially aligned with BJP and worked extensively for the party ahead of Assembly polls in 2023, hoping to get a ticket. However, the BJP gave a ticket to Swaroop Singh Khara from the Sheo constituency, leaving Bhati irked over the decision. Bhati decided to go separate ways and contested Assembly Elections as an independent candidate from the Sheo Assembly seat in Barmer, Rajasthan. Bhati is fondly called Ravsa among his peers.

He began his political career in 2019 through student politics. He wanted to contest the poll from ABVP but things did not work out in his favour. He became the first independent president elected in Jai Narain Vyas University (JNVU). Notably, he actively led a movement to protect University land from being sold for a convention centre, making him popular among the students and leading to his victory. Later, he led statewide protests against universities and colleges over fee issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rajasthan police also arrested him for violating COVID protocols. In September 2021, he led a protest against the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government. He demanded 75% reservation in employment for the youth of Rajasthan on the lines of reservation in Haryana. Bhati has graduated in law from JNVU.

Reports suggest that Bhati’s popularity is not limited to western Rajasthan. He has been traveling to Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad to meet immigrants from his constituency to vote. His popularity is peaking on the ground and on social media. He has 2.2 million followers on Instagram.

Bhati defeated Fateh Khan, another independent candidate, Ameen Khan of Congress and Khara of BJP in the Assembly polls last year. He got almost 80,000 votes from the Sheo Assembly seats, which set a more straightforward path for his political journey. If we look at the Sheo constituency, there are around 3 lakh voters, including 1 lakh Muslim voters. Bhati was contesting against seasoned politicians, including six-time Congress MLA Ameen Khan, who has been actively contesting elections from the same seat since 1980; Fateh Khan, another independent candidate who was initially aligned with Congress but left the party after being denied a ticket and Swaroop Singh Khara of BJP.

Bhati got 79,495 votes and won the seat. Fateh Khan got 75,545 votes, Ameen Khan got 55,264, and Swaroop Singh Khara got 22,820. If the pro-Congress ballots had not been divided among Fateh Khan and Ameen Khan, it would have been difficult for Bhati to win the seat.

Soon after winning the Assembly elections, Bhati decided to try his luck with Lok Sabha Elections. He is contesting as an independent candidate from the Barmer constituency.

Who is Nitasha Kaul?

Nitasha Kaul is a controversial ‘activist’ who was recently deported to the United Kingdom after landing at Bengaluru airport. The Congress government invited her to Karnataka to speak at a ‘Constitution and National Unity’ conference.

Nitasha Kaul has justified terrorism on several occasions. She was seen making a case for radical Islamic terrorism in Kashmir by downplaying acts of terror as a ‘right to protest’ against supposed ‘repression’ by the Indian government. She also glorified Islamic terrorist Burhan Wani in a vicious article in 2016. Months after the abrogation of Article 370, Nitasha Kaul gave a written submission before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on South Asia Human Rights in October 2019.

The anti-India propagandist exploited the opportunity to allege that the Modi government was a ‘colonial’ power and denying ‘freedom’ and the ‘right to access to the internet’ to Kashmiris.’

In December 2015, she was seen spreading falsehoods about the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) during an interview of Ram Madhav with controversial Al Jazeera host Mehdi Hasan.

In March 2017, she equated RSS to a terror organisation. Nitasha Kaul tweeted, “RSS, the right-wing paramilitary organisation in #India that breeds terrorists & of which PM #Modi is a member. #BJP is its political wing.”

She was also one of those who were behind the cancellation of PM Modi’s Wharton address in 2013. On several occasions, she endorsed Pakistan over the Kashmir matter.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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