Ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly Election 2023, Ravindra Singh Sheoran discusses the important question that will BJP be able to hold its bastion in tehe Hadoti region, which unlike the rest of the state, is not parched and supplies power to the rest of the state..
By Ravindra Singh Sheoran
New Delhi: Hadoti region, the land of Hada rulers, home to four districts,17 assemblies and two Lok Sabha constituencies has been a politically active state before the independence of India. Some of the popular leaders of this area during the freedom struggle were Gulabchand Sharma, Shivpratap Shrivastava, Seth Motilal Jain, and Nagendra Bala. Nagendra Bala, from Kota, entered electoral politics and went on to become the country’s first woman Zila Pramukh. Hadoti’s land has also been equally fertile for the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, and propped up some prominent leaders as candidates in the first Assembly elections, who would win the seats in subsequent elections.
The Hadoti area, unlike the rest of Rajasthan, is not parched but a land of Chambal river and supplies power to the rest of the state. Nowadays, this prominent area is the home turf of the former chief minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje, and also the incumbent Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, also eyeing the Chief Minister’s post, hails from this region. He is representing coaching Nagri Kota in the Lok Sabha. Kota is one of the biggest financial hubs of the state with an annual turnover of around Rs 5000 crores caching business.
Out of 17 assembly constituencies Kota 6, Bundi 3, Baran 4, and Jhalawar have 4 seats. Out of these 11 seats in the last elections were won by the opposition BJP, including the Jhalarpatan won by Vasundhara Raje Scindia. The Lok Sabha seat of Jhalawar Baran is also represented by Dushyant Singh of BJP, the son of Vasundhara. This area is considered a strong bastion for the BJP.
In the 2008 assembly elections, won by the Congress, Hadoti was a mixed bag with 10 seats won by BJP. But in 2013 it was a clean sweep and BJP won all the seats of this area barring Hindoli in the Bundi district.
RSS too has a strong ideological base in this region and the top leaders of the BJP’s former Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishan Advani had spent months and months in this area to garner support for the saffron party. Consequently, this area was given the first non-BJP Chief Minister to the state in Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in 1977. Bhairon Singh represented the Chhabra seat of Baran district in the year 1977 riding on the anti-emergency wave.
Janata Party in that election won 151 seats out of 200. After Indira Gandhi returned to power in 1980 in the Centre, she dismissed the Bhairon Singh government. Shekhawat again returned to hold the chief minister’s post twice –1990-1992 and met the same fate. In 1992, his government was dismissed by PV Narasimha Rao, following the Babri masjid demolition.
Bhairon Singh, however, bounced back in the subsequent Assembly election in 1993 to complete his full term for the first time. Another Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje is also from the same area and represents Jhalrapatan in Jhalawar district. She would win three successive elections – in 2003, 2008 and 2013 from the same seat. Vasundhara won her first election from Dhaulpur in 1985.
The challenger BJP this time has not projected Vasundhra as its CM face and also some of her loyalists lost their tickets in the first. This may hamper the prospectus of the saffron outfit in the upcoming assembly polls.
Congress party’s stalwart, the longest-serving Chief Minister of Rajasthan Mohan Lal Sukhadiya was born in Jhalawar, but he represented Udaipur in the assembly. Presently, three members from the Hadoti region are part of Ashok Gehlot’s council of minister with Shanti Dhariwal as a very powerful minister and a close aide of the Chief Minister.
This area mainly comprises Sahariya tribal voters predominantly in Baran, while like rest of the state Meena, Mali, Dhakar, Gujjar and a significant number of Scheduled Caste is also there. Brahmins, Vaishyas, Rajputs and Muslims are also there to effect the result of the elections.
Earlier, when Kota was an industrial town it was a significant center for trade unions which gave way to the Left parties. But now, it’s the coaching centers that have turned the city into the coaching hub of Rajasthan. All the eyes will be on this region on November 23 when the electorates will cast their franchise to elect their next representative in the assembly.