Rajasthan Elections: Why is Mewar Important for all Political Parties?
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PTI
Mewar, situated 394 kilometres south of the capital Jaipur, is as historical as it is important for power. There is a very popular saying about Mewar that the path to power in Rajasthan passes through there. Except for the 2018 Assembly elections, the past three decades suggest that the party that wins more seats in Mewar ends up forming the government.
The region has given four chief ministers. Of the four, Mohan Lal Sukhadia remained in power for the longest period of 16 years. The dominance of the leaders of Mewar has been seen in the cabinet.
Although there are only 28 Assembly seats in Mewar out of the total 200, their influence is visible on other seats as well. This is why everyone from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Home Minister Amit Shah have held public meetings in Mewar. If we look at the last elections, this was the first time the BJP won Mewar but missed out on power.
Administrative Decentralisation, Political Benefits
At present, Mewar is called the Udaipur division. It has borders with Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The division has five districts -- Udaipur, Rajsamand, Chittorgarh, Bhilwara and Salumber. Before the division change this year, Banswara, Dungarpur and Pratapgarh districts were also included in the Udaipur division. They now come under the Banswara division. The separate division was created to include tribal seats of the Vagad area, a demand of the people for a long time.
People from Vagad and many surrounding areas told NewsClick that the small size of the district makes it easier for people to access resources. Now, people can get many facilities and benefits due to administrative decentralisation. In this, bureaucracy can function properly at the local level. Things like new resources and new budgets result in a better system.
Many people also said that most of the facilities are available in big places only. Therefore, if a big district is far, one has to face many problems. For example, it takes about two-three hours to reach Banswara from Udaipur headquarters. Now, with the formation of a new division, it will be easier to get the same facilities at the immediate level.
Caste Equation and Influence of Mewar
Many local journalists say that caste equations also matter a lot in Mewar. This area is divided into tribal-dominated areas and various castes like Rajput, Brahmin, Jat, Maheshwari, Gurjar and Scheduled Castes. Here Jat and Gurjar come under OBC (Other Backward Classes). This is why the influence of a particular caste is seen in every seat. For example, Udaipur City and Nathdwar are dominated by Brahmins and Jains. At the same time, Rajputs dominate Chittorgarh and Vallabhnagar. In Bhilwara, candidates of the Gurjar community and in Kumbhalgarh, candidates of the Maheshwari community have often been winning. At the same time, the results in these seats also affect the equation in other regions because of the presence of strong caste organisations. Additionally, the royal family also impacts the elections.
Such is the importance of Mewar that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started its second 'Parivartan Yatra' from Banswara, which passed through almost all the seats of Mewar. Mewar was also kept in the focus of Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in Rajasthan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited Mangarh Dham of Banswara, and many senior leaders of BJP and Congress have made rounds of the place.
State of Parties in Mewar Politics
However, if we look at the historical figures of Mewar before the 2003 delimitation, out of 25 seats, 18 were won by BJP and five by Congress. The BJP formed the government. Similarly, in 2008, Congress had won 19 seats, and BJP had won seven seats, and then Congress was in power. In the 2013 elections, out of 28, the BJP got 25 seats, the Congress got two seats, and the BJP formed the government.
However, myths are often made and broken in politics, and Mewar has also not been untouched by this. In 2018, BJP won 15 seats, and Congress won 10 seats, but Congress formed the government in the state.
Now, once again, all the parties are busy in Mewar and are showing their strength. On the one hand, the schemes of the Ashok Gehlot government are popular among the public; on the other hand, there is also a feeling of anti-incumbency, which makes the contest interesting. In many areas of Mewar, there are problems regarding electricity, water and health facilities, but solutions are now available.
Another problem that attracts the attention of most people is the management and cleanliness of religious and tourist areas. The local people here respect their heritage and demand better management. It is also the speciality of Mewar that here, the old and the new blend very well. Who the people of Mewar elect this time, the result will be known only on December 3.
(Translated from Hindi)
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