BJP’s Arjun Ram Meghwal, a Union Minister of State will be up in arms against his cousin brother Madan Gopal Meghwal, a former IPS officer, contesting on a Congress ticket.
The city of Bikaner in Rajasthan will witness an interesting fight in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, with cousins contesting for the seat from rival parties.
BJP’s Arjun Ram Meghwal, who is the Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, and Parliamentary Affairs, will be up in arms against his cousin brother Madan Gopal Meghwal, a former Indian Police Services (IPS) officer, who is contesting on a Congress ticket.
This will be the third time that Arjun is contesting the Lok Sabha polls in Bikaner, having won the seat in the previous two general elections. He is a retired Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer. In an interview, the two-time MP said, "This is the fight of ideology and I have my family which is BJP, supporting me.”
This time Arjun is likely to face a tough battle against his brother, given some anti-incumbency factors within his party.
Moreover, the exit of BJP rebel politician Devi Singh Bhati, who has been winning from Kolyat assembly seat for the last 35 years, has made the situation difficult for Arjun. Bhati had lost in the 2013 assembly election and in 2018 his daughter-in-law too lost against Bhanwar Singh Bhati.
While on a tour of Bikaner, Moneycontrol caught up with a shopkeeper in Bajju area which comes under the Kolyat Vidhan Sabha, who said, "Devi Singh Bhati will not create any impact on the local public since he ruled for 35 years and did nothing to develop the area.”
Another farmer in Ganjner said, "We want to vote for Narendra Modi, but this time we have a compulsion to vote as per Bhatiji instructions. He said Bhati always stood for us on personal issues.” Even Arjun was of the view that Devi Singh Bhati would not have any impact on voters.
Meanwhile, a senior journalist from Bikaner told Moneycontrol, "Actually this election will be more about Modi and Arjun has an edge because of the PM’s popularity. Madan is relatively a newcomer for the people of Bikaner.”
Bikaner’s water crisis has been at the top of election campaigns, with both candidates claiming that they would resolve the issue. A villager from Khari Charan, situated near Kolyat said, “We are dependent only on single pond for water, which is not fit for consumption. Arjun Ramji was the water resources minister, he should have done something for us. Nonetheless, we would still vote and we would only vote for Modi [BJP].”
In the Bikaner constituency Jats and Meghwals will be most crucial in deciding the fate of candidates. Meghwal votes will be divide between the two candidates as both belong to the same family and are well qualified. However, young Jats may vote in favour of the BJP due to Rashtriya Loktrantik Party Chief Hanuman Beniwal.In urban areas the BJP seems to be dominating due to popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Friday, Modi addressed a rally in Bikaner which could evoke more votes for the BJP.